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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Vivendi Faces Its Moment of Truth

PARIS -- After months of spin and high drama, the multibillion dollar auction of Vivendi Universal's show business empire comes down to the wire this week as the media giant seeks to end its ill-fated foray into Hollywood.

The French conglomerate was locked in last-minute negotiations with contenders over the weekend after auction favorite NBC firmed up its merger proposal ahead of a key board meeting Tuesday that could pick a candidate for final talks.

The marathon auction of Hollywood properties including Universal Studios has shaped up as a two-horse race between television network NBC and a team led by Vivendi vice chairman Edgar Bronfman Jr.

However, Vivendi is also reviewing other proposals, including one from cable company Liberty Media Corp.

General Electric's NBC -- the top choice to walk away with exclusive negotiating rights -- sent Vivendi a letter Saturday detailing a merger proposal that goes some way toward solving the indebted group's need for cash, a source familiar with the situation said.

However, Bronfman -- who ran the Universal empire when his family owned it -- has been snapping at NBC's heels with a deal that could still offer Vivendi more immediate cash to cut the debts that brought it to its knees last year.