By Ronald Grover
DEEPER LOOKS. Ah, but just how long will Meyer, known to be openhanded with stars and staff, really stick around? His generous ways may not mesh with GE's cost-cutting culture. "If Ron wants to stay, we'd be thrilled to have him," says Wright, who met with the Universal production team only days before Sept. 2. "If I went out to draft a team, I don't think I could do better than those guys." Still, GE is famous for squeezing money from acquisitions, so the warm, fuzzy feelings may not last forever.
Indeed, NBC is only now being allowed to take a good, hard look at some of Universal's more complex contracts, including those in which the studio shares profits with third parties or sold off foreign rights to help finance big-budget movies. That could mean the 5,000-odd films that NBC gets as part of the deal are far less valuable than Wright may think, say sources with knowledge of Universal's finances.
Both Wright and Vivendi's Levy insist the review of Vivendi Universal's books is largely pro forma. "I don't see a deal-breaker in there anywhere," says Wright. So confident are both sides that they allowed for less than a month to do the review, and neither insisted on a breakup fee. True, Wright says there are tons of tax and other agreements that he wants his team of lawyers and accountants to look at more closely because "th