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Vivendi, Working Mothers and No More Calls

By Maxine Shapiro, KERA 90.1 business commentator

Dallas, TX – Vivendi finds a way out of debt, finding the best places to work if you're a mom, and don't even think about using the phone to sell me anything. I'm Maxine Shapiro with KERA Marketplace Midday.

Vivendi Universal - first, there was the coming to America of the eccentric ex-CEO Jean-Marie Messier and then his ousting, after it was revealed maybe the company wasn't doing as good as they said they were. A debt of over $1.5 billion, and then a court order to pay Messier $23 million in severance pay.

Vivendi's been looking for someone to bail them out and this morning it's official: the folks at General Electric (who own NBC) are merging with Vivendi. The new name: NBC Universal. GE will own 80 percent, while the French firm will own 20 percent. And in a really nice gesture, GE will assume the $1.7 billion debt. So to compete with the likes of Viacom and Walt Disney, NBC Universal will now own everything else that Viacom and Disney doesn't. Besides NBC Studios and Universal Pictures, there's Universal Television, just a few cable networks, Telemundo, the NBC-TV stations group and stakes in five theme parks. This $43 billion company probably won't be official until the latter part of next year. It's those darn regulatory approvals that always get in the way.

Now if you're a mom needing and wanting to work, you're going to try to find the place most sympathetic to your dual role. Unfortunately, if you live in North Texas, there's only one place that made the 100 Best Places to Work according to Working Mother magazine: Texas Instruments. If you want to stay in Texas, you have only one other choice: moving to San Antonio and working for USAA.

And an appeals court in Denver decided while this whole legal mess is being settled, the FTC can fine telemarketers $11,000 for every call they make to someone on the National Do-Not-Call List. Quiet at last. For KERA Marketplace Midday, I'm Maxine Shapiro.

Marketplace Midday Reports air on KERA 90.1 Monday - Friday at 1:04 p.m.

Email Maxine Shapiro about this story.