Diller to Sell Stake in Vivendi for $3.4 Billion

Media is one big happy family. Incestuous but happy.


Barry Diller, the former Hollywood executive turned Internet media mogul, has agreed to sell his 5.4 percent stake in Vivendi Universal Entertainment to NBC Universal for $3.4 billion, signaling a shift in interest from television to Internet services and retailing. The deal ends the litigious relationship between Mr. Diller, the chairman and chief executive of the Internet conglomerate IAC/Interactive Corp, based in New York, and Vivendi Universal. It also frees the former head of the Paramount and Fox movie studios to pursue his purchase of the Internet search engine Ask Jeeves to compete for online advertising with other search engines, like Google. "It seems he wants to orient IAC more toward the Internet business rather than entertainment," said Joe Bonner, a securities analyst for Argus Research in New York, which has no banking relationships and does not own shares of IAC. "It's a smart move for him, especially now with Internet advertising growing by leaps and bounds."