Expedia pulls USA deal from agenda – Business

Expedia pulls USA deal from agenda – Business – Brief Article

Expedia, a travel Web site operation, said that in light of Vivendi’s acquisition of USA Networks’ entertainment assets, there would not be a Dec. 17 shareholder vote on its planned acquisition by USA Networks.

The $10.3 billion deal with USA is intended to improve distribution of Vivendi’s music and movies in the US. Terms of the deal call for cash and stocks to be put into a new company — Vivendi Universal Entertainment, in which Vivendi will have a 93 percent stake. Barry Diller of USA Networks will be the chairman and CEO of the company, which will combine USA’s cable networks, television production unit, and film company with Universal Studios

USA Networks, which also has a ticketing and online transactions business, will change its name to USA Interactive. If the deal with Expedia goes through, it is presumed that this will be the company that acquires the travel company. Diller reportedly will remain as the boss at USA Interactive.

Expedia, whose annual shareholder meeting was scheduled for Dec. 17, said in a terse statement that it “intends to deliver updated documentation to Expedia shareholders, as and when appropriate, in anticipation of a Special Meeting to consider the USA/Expedia merger transaction early in 2002.”

USA Networks struck the complex, mega-million dollar deal with Expedia’s largest shareholder, Microsoft Corp., last July. However, compared to Vivendi’s multi-billion dollar acquisition of USA, that deal is small potatoes.

Vivendi is the world’s second-largest media company, and analysts believe that it is hoping Diller can expand its presence in the US to compete with American media giants such as AOL Time Warner, Disney Co. and Viacom.

Barry Diller is also winning on a personal level. He is effectively selling back to Vivendi television assets which he bought from Edgar Bronfman Jr., Vivendi’s outgoing executive vice chairman, for $4.1 billion in 1997.

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