If the entertainment industry held a garage sale, you'd find a colorful collection of sellers looking to clean house by haggling with bargain-hunting collectors.

It's ironic. With record-setting box-office returns and the popularity of DVDs propping up the industry's operating dynamics, you'd expect gold in the silver screen.

Not quite. Weekend reports indicate Vivendi Universal(NYSE: V) has reopened negotiations for its entertainment assets with billionaire oilman Marvin Davis. Between the cash-strapped Vivendi and the shrewd investor Davis, this is no garage-sale Picasso. The $20 billion price tag tossed out for the collection of assets, including Universal Studios and Universal Music Group, is hefty, but it's far less than the $34 billion the company paid to acquire the empire three years ago (along with other Seagram properties). However, it would help Vivendi lick the debt monster that has it polishing its wares for sale in the first place.

Vivendi -- or even Davis -- could balk. Davis earned his first batch of billions in the oil fields, so who knows if he's serious or simply drilling away for sport. But one thing's for sure: Vivendi needs to find asset buyers. Calling off the proposed asset sale might scare away the same investors that have seen the company's stock nearly double after it bottomed out six months ago.

If Vivendi decides to shake its moneymakers in smaller amounts, rumor has it Microsoft(Nasdaq: MSFT) and Electronic Arts(Nasdaq: ERTS) are looking to buy its video-game software business. Movie studios Disney(NYSE: DIS), Sony(NYSE: SNE), and Viacom(NYSE: VIA) may be interested in the celluloid slice.

Either way, the company might want to hurry things along. If AOL Time Warner(NYSE: AOL) begins to unload some of its leisure assets, it will quickly become a buyers market, and the tire-kicking lookie-loos will no longer outnumber the sellers. Sure, that would make for some ripe entertainment, theatrically speaking, but for a company like Vivendi, which started out as little more than a French environmental group, cleaning up the mess former chief Jean-Marie Messier left behind can't be put off much longer.