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The litigation equivalent of Halley's comet is about to streak into view in Manhattan federal district court. Yes, folks, when trial in the shareholder suit against Vivendi and two of its former executives begins this week before Judge Richard Holwell, it may be your once-in-a-lifetime chance to witness a so-called f-cubed securities class action trial, involving foreign investors who bought shares of foreign companies on foreign exchanges. Paul Saunders of Cravath, Swaine & Moore giving the opening statement for the defendants and Arthur Abbey of Abbey Spanier Rodd & Abrams is appearing as lead counsel for the plaintiffs. James Quinn of Weil, Gotshal & Manges, our most recent Litigator of the Week, is cocounsel for the defense.

Plaintiffs in the case, which has been around since 2002, are shareholders across the U.S. and Europe who allege that Vivendi--then known as Vivendi Universal--made false and misleading statements in 2001 and 2002, when Vivendi's former CEO, Jean-Marie Messier, was transforming the French water company into a media conglomerate through a mad dash of acquisitions. Plaintiffs claim that Vivendi, Messier, and former chief financial officer Guillaume Hannezo concealed a liquidity crisis, whose revelation ultimately caused the stock to drop.

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