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Table: Convergence: So Far, Empty Promises


A handful of major media companies fashioned strategies that wed content and Internet distribution, but they never panned out. Here's a rundown:

VIVENDI

The purchase of Universal's movie and music businesses in 2000 was meant to enable Vivendi to sell content via the Web. Instead, investors lost faith in CEO Jean-Marie Messier, and the stock plummeted 80% in two years. Messier was forced to resign on July 1.

AOL TIME WARNER

The marriage of AOL and Time Warner was supposed to deliver an array of new programming through the world's biggest ISP. Now, with the ad recession, it could be years before those ambitions are realized. Meanwhile, its shares are down 77% since the $81 billion merger in early 2001.

WALT DISNEY

It created its own separately traded Disney Internet Group in 1999 after paying more than $400 million for Web properties Starwave and Infoseek. In 2001, it closed much of the operation, including its Go Network, and recorded an $820 million noncash write-off. Its stock is down 53% in two years. It's still betting on movies.com.

BERTELSMANN

The promise from the privately held German media giant was that it would be a leader in selling books and music over the Internet. It bought defunct Napster earlier this year, but Bertelsmann's Web sales remain dismal.

PRIMEDIA

The publisher's $690 million acquisition in 2000 of About.com, a network of Internet guides, was intended to leverage its slew of magazines on the Web. It didn't happen. Today, Primedia's shares trade at about $1.30, down 97% from two years ago.


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