French utility, Vivendi, purchased the United States-based entertainment giant Universal in late 2000. In so doing, the rechristened Vivendi Universal became a major force in music, films and television production, adding to its European-based cable television and telecommunications assets. By the end of 2001, Vivendi Univeral was betting upon continued convergence of distribution channels in order to knit together an international entertainment conglomerate. It plans would put Vivendi Universal in direct competion with established entertainment giants such as Disney, Viacom and the merged AOL Time Warner.
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