Vivendi faces €800m legal bill

Media conglomerate Vivendi could be landed with a €800 million legal bill if found guilty of misstating its liquidity situation a decade ago.

Chairman Jean-Rene Fourtou revealed the figure to shareholders yesterday, stating the firm would have to add €250 million to an existing provision of €550 million, if a US class action suit goes against it, Reuters reports.
 
Fourtou said he was hopeful the firm would not have to pay the fees, noting that it could take up to three years for the lawsuit to be concluded.
 
The firm, which has telecoms operations in France, Morocco, and Brazil, was found guilty of providing misleading information to investors at a trial in New York in January.
 
However, the court did not implicate Jean-Marie Messier and Guillaume Hannezo, who were CEO and CFO at the time of the offence between 2000 and 2002.
 
Vivendi is suing the former executives, with a trial due to start in June.
 
A bid to protect French shareholders from the US class action was overruled by a Paris court on Wednesday, despite Vivendi’s claims the lawsuit doesn’t comply with French law.

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