Diller Expands Vivendi Duties

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Media mogul Barry Diller will soon be named co-chairman and CEO of a new Universal Entertainment division that will oversee the movie studios, theme parks, cable networks, television operations, music and video-game divisions at Vivendi Universal, Associated Press reports.

Universal and Vivendi declined comment on the move, which would expand Diller's power in the company, giving him control over most of the company's U.S. media assets.

The report once again prompted speculation that Vivendi may spin off its entertainment assets and that Diller and other investors might take control of them. Diller and Liberty Media Corp. chairman John Malone have long been mentioned as possible candidates to buy the studio.

The most likely scenario, some analysts believe, would be for Vivendi to spin off the entertainment assets and use the proceeds to pare down its massive debts, keeping only a minority stake in the company.