In 1994, Jean-Marie Messier had a dream - to change a 150 year-old French water company into a media empire to compete with anything America could produce. He would spend over 100 billion dollars. At the height of his triumphs, Messier was a hero of the New Economy, a man who had successfully brought together the old and new with his unique vision. By 2000, the empire combined music, publishing, telecom, cinema, theme parks, water supply, video games, commuter trains, the Internet and waste management. In 2002, as the financial markets fell, Messier's debt became impossible and he was ousted in a boardroom cup. This portrait of this brilliant, but flawed businessmen is a real-life morality tale.
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Jo Johnson, 30, is currently Paris correspondent of the Financial Times. Martine Orange, 44, is a renowned journalist for Le Monde.From Publishers Weekly:
Messier was a wunderkind of French business who at the age of 37 was appointed chief executive of Generale des Eaux. He had already served in the finance ministry under Jacques Chirac and been a managing partner with the investment banking firm Lazard Freres when he assumed leadership of Generale in 1994, and the water management company was one of France's largest corporations. Messier, however, did not see Generale's future in water and sewage management, but in the media and information world. To accomplish the transformation, Messier embarked on a dizzying buying spree highlighted by the $42 billion purchase in 2000 of Seagram, a deal that included Seagram's Universal assets. For Messier, the creation of the newly minted Vivendi Universal (which also bought Houghton Mifflin in 2001) was not only a personal triumph, but also a statement that a French company could compete on the world stage. But as Johnson and Orange show, Messier created a gulf between himself and the French establishment that left him with few allies as he tried to save his company when business conditions declined in 2001. In their briskly paced, insightful work, Johnson, the Paris correspondent for the Financial Times, and Orange, a reporter for Le Monde, relate Messier's many missteps that led to his fall from the top of the media world. Part of Messier's undoing was the disdain many French have for America's domination of the media and the belief that in merging with Seagram, Messier had sold out French culture. Given the French attitude about America as documented by Johnson and Orange, the recent strain in French-American relations comes as no surprise.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Viking / Penguin, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. Book Description The extraordinary rise and fall of Vivendi Universal's flamboyant CEO, Jean-Marie Messier. Jean-Marie Messier has been called the most ambitious French empire builder since Napoleon. He started as a bureaucrat at a sleepy French water utility, but he dreamed of being a global media mogul like Rupert Murdoch. And like Napoleon, he shocked the world with his accomplishments-until his inevitable downfall. In just six years, through guile, luck, and clever accounting, Messier managed to gobble up media assets as diverse as MCA Records, Universal Studios, USA Networks, and various publishers, theme parks, videogame producers, and Internet companies on both sides of the Atlantic. He turned Vivendi Universal into a serious challenger to AOL Time Warner, News Corp., Viacom, and Disney. And in the process, he became a poster boy for the new economy, and one of the few European CEOs to act like a swaggering American. But in 2002, everything fell apart. In The Man Who Tried to Buy the World, Jo Johnson and Martine Orange-the reporters who blew the lid off the story and often clashed with Messier-offer a page-turning narrative of the arrogant CEO's demise. The book details Messier's incredible hubris, which led him to buy more assets than he could possibly manage, while drowning his company in debt. It describes the dramatic boardroom coup that forced Messier out and explores Messier's fascinating relationships with two prominent Americans who became his partners-Edgar Bronfman, Jr., and Barry Diller. --Ce texte provient d'une édition qui n'est plus publiée ou qui est non diponible. About the Author Jo Johnson is the Paris correspondent for the Financial Times. Martine Orange is a business reporter for Le Monde. --Ce texte provient d'une édition qui n'est plus publiée ou qui est non diponible. Bookseller Inventory # ABE-904662164