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Shareholders of Seagram Co. and Vivendi SA of France approved a $33.6 billion all-share takeover of the Canadian company Tuesday, a combination which will create one of the world’s largest media groups. At an early morning meeting in Montreal, shareholders of liquor and entertainment conglomerate Seagram voted overwhelmingly in favor of the merger, with 90.4 percent giving their assent. The Bronfman family, which has controlled Seagram since it founded it as a liquor company 76 years ago and enlarged it into a media giant, tendered its 24 percent stake and will own 7.5 percent to 8 percent of Vivendi Universal, as the new entity will be known. Seagram CEO Edgar Bronfman, Jr., said the sale of Seagram, which includes Seagram’s Universal Music Group and its Universal Films unit, was difficult for the family. “It’s not easy letting go of so much of our past, and none of us — myself, my father, Edgar, my uncle Charles, my brother Sam — have taken this decision lightly,” Bronfman said after the meeting. In Paris, news agencies reported that Vivendi shareholders also approved the merger, and in addition, backed an $11 billion offer for the 49 percent that Vivendi doesn’t own in European pay-TV company Canal Plus SA. Canal Plus shareholders are scheduled to vote on the Seagram deal Friday. The new Vivendi Universal will become the world’s second-largest media group if America Online Inc.’s deal to buy Time Warner Inc. is approved. Bronfman will be vice chairman of Vivendi Universal and will be charged with selling the wine and spirits division on which Seagram made its name. He will also lead the music and Internet divisions. Bronfman said a buyer for the wine and spirits division should be selected within weeks. Copyright (c)2000 TDD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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