In 1994, Jean-Marie Messier, a French businessman, had a dream: to transform a 150-year-old French water company into one of the world's leading media empires. Over the next eight years he would spend more than $100 billion building Vivendi Universal, the only serious European challenger to the US giants of the media industry. Messier would become the first French media mogul, a CEO superstar for the twenty-first century. At the height of his triumph, he was a poster boy for the New Economy, revered on Wall Street and in the City of London as the undisputed king of a new generation of young, dynamic and outward-looking European business leaders. By 2002, Vivendi Universal straddled the Atlantic. Its holdings included music, publishing, telecoms, TV, video games, cinema, the Internet, theme parks, commuter trains, water suppliers and waste management. But as quickly as the empire rose, it came crashing down. As the financial markets turned against him, Messier found it difficult to manage not only his debts but also his own outsized media profile. Messier finally fell in July 2002 in a boardroom coup sanctioned by the French establishment and the financial markets that had once worshipped him. As the crisis in capitalism swept from Wall Street to Europe, Vivendi came within hours of bankruptcy and was forced into a fire sale of its media jewels to survive. Jo Johnson and Martine Orange's dazzling portrait of one of today's most brilliant and flawed businessmen is a real-life morality tale of our limes. It also goes beyond the story of one man's hubris and provides a gripping insight into the changing face of international business in the global economy.