Media Medium
2 January 2002


Messier: the impossible dreamer

The big-thinking Sagittarian who rattled Murdoch's cage with
last year's EchoStar and USA Networks deals is showing no
signs of slowing down in 2002

Most of us treat ourselves to something special on our birthdays, and for Vivendi Universal boss Jean-Marie Messier, his recent birthday treat was the 1.5 bn dollar purchase of a 10 percent share in EchoStar, followed a few days later by a 10.3 bn deal for USA Networks. But that's small beer for a big-thinking, big- spending Sagittarian.

Messier (December 13 1956) appears to have all the global aspirations and entrepreneurial instincts of this sign. Famous for their love of freedom and travel, Sagittarians refuse to accept boundaries and believe that anything is possible. It takes a peculiarly Sagittarian imagination to turn a Parisian sewer and water company into the world's second largest media group, within the space of five years. Typically, "Sagittarians expand into previously undreamed-of realms because there is a desire to viscerally know, to experience, to try their wings, and to have excitement through adventure. They travel far and fast, either geographically or in thought, or both" (Sakoian & Acker, Astrologers' Handbook).

No sign uproots more readily and while Messier has pitched camp in a 17m dollar New York apartment, back in France his critics claim he is neglecting French culture and sensibilities. Perhaps they are right. There are few home-loving or protectionist instincts in his horoscope, and with many of his planets aligned in a fiery 'kite' formation, he is a born gambler, always ready to push his luck.

Some astrologers would be jumpy about his entry into the big league of US media at the time of a birthday eclipse on his Sun (14 December). Eclipses often indicate blind spots, blind faith and wild judgment, and given the Sagittarian propensity to go over-the-top, has Messier bitten off more than he can chew? Probably not. An eclipse irrevocably changes the rules of the game, creating new winners as well as losers, and with all other current indications in his horoscope strong and positive, it looks as if this Archer is right on target. Vivendi's stake in EchoStar, added to USA Networks, gives it distribution for its content, and in the process Messier has rattled Murdoch's cage. It was EchoStar which recently defeated News Corporation for control of Hughes Electronics, owner of DirecTV, thereby upsetting the mogul's satellite broadcasting ambitions.

All of which has resulted in Messier being seen as the new Murdoch. The astrological connection between the two men gives astrologers a chuckle. They have a cosmic marriage - a union of Messier's Sun and Murdoch's Moon - and it is this contact that has been whacked by the eclipse, putting the Frenchman on a roll and the Aussie down-under, on the dark side of the Moon.

Messier promises that Vivendi will consolidate in the coming year, but consolidation and Sagittarius are ultimately a contradiction in terms. Fire always seeks new fuel to consume, and although Messier's Sagittarian fires may burn low in 2003 as an earthy, Taurean influence filters through his horoscope, in 2004, transforming Pluto crosses his Sun. Expect this Sagittarian Archer to be on the move again, heading for undreamed-of realms and seeking yet more impossible things to do.

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