Edgar Bronfman

Vivendi Universal

Edgar Bronfman Jr., 47, may just be the most desperate billionaire around these days. His decision in 2000 to sell Seagram Co., his family's liquor and entertainment company, to Vivendi Universal (V ) was supposed to protect the clan's future. But CEO Jean-Marie Messier brought the company close to bankruptcy. By the time he was ousted in July, the value of the Bronfmans' stake had shrunk from $6.5 billion to $3 billion--a huge loss for the family, even if only on paper.

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