Vertigo At Vivendi

Problems are mounting--and the company suddenly looks like a takeover target

Bounding into the hall with a cell phone clapped to one ear, Jean-Marie Messier ran a gauntlet of cameramen before taking his place on the dais beside America Online Inc. Chairman Steven M. Case. That was the scene on Sept. 13, when the chief executive of communications and utilities conglomerate Vivendi shared the limelight at a Paris meeting of top e-commerce executives.

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