Jean-Bernard Levy joined Vivendi in 2002 and became chief executive in 2005. Since then, he’s run a conglomerate that owns the world’s biggest music company in Universal Music Group, European TV giant Canal Plus, and 61% of video game publisher Activision Blizzard. Via UMG, Vivendi is also in the process of acquiring EMI’s recorded music division for $1.9B. Last year, Levy oversaw the selloff of Vivendi’s 20% stake in NBCUniversal. There have been calls for Levy to address low valuation at the Paris-based media giant, according to Bloomberg, with its stock price down 18% this year and its bond rating in peril. It’s also understood that increasing disagreements over strategy are behind his expected departure. Levy has not been keen to spin-off or sell assets while supervisory board president, Jean-René Fourtou, has recently pondered whether the group’s activities should be split into two or three parts, French business daily La Tribune notes. And, in a hangover from Vivendi’s Jean-Marie Messier days, a New York jury earlier this week awarded Liberty Media more than $956M, finding that Vivendi Universal had misled John Malone’s company about the value of Vivendi shares in 2002 when it bought Liberty’s stake in USA Networks. Vivendi is expected to make a formal announcement on Levy later today.
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