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|Traded as||Euronext: VIV|
|Founded||December 14, 1853 (as Compagnie générale des eaux)
1998 (as Vivendi)
|Key people||Jean-François Dubos (CEO), Jean-René Fourtou (Chairman), Philippe Capron (CFO)|
|Products||Music publishing, film production, publishing, pay television services, television broadcasting, telecommunication services, video game publishing|
|Revenue||€28.813 billion (2011)|
|Operating income||€5.682 billion (2011)|
|Profit||€3.727 billion (2011)|
|Total assets||€55.719 billion (2011)|
|Total equity||€22.070 billion (2011)|
|Subsidiaries||Universal Music Group
Activision Blizzard (64%)
Maroc Telecom (53%)
Vivendi SA (formerly known as Vivendi Universal) is a French multinational mass media and telecommunication company headquartered in Paris, France. The company has activities in music, television and film, publishing, telecommunications, the Internet, and video games.
Vivendi is a company primarily focused on digital entertainment and telecommunications. It owns French TV channel and movie producer Canal+ Group, as well as music world leader Universal Music Group, and controls video games world leader Activision Blizzard. Vivendi is also active in telecommunication, owning mobile companies SFR (France) and GVT (Brazil) and controlling Maroc Telecom (Morocco).
Canal+ Group is the leading pay television group in France. It is also a movie and show producer and distributor in France.
Activision Blizzard is the video games world leader, with a revenue of 4.76 billion dollars in 2011, notably based on the success of some of the studio's franchises such as Call of Duty and the World of Warcraft. Vivendi owns a controlling stake (63%) in Activision Blizzard.
Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group is the world's number one music producer with more than 30% of the global market. It produces such artists as Mariah Carey, Rihanna, Maroon 5, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Fergie, and Nicki Minaj.
SFR is one of France's four mobile telecommunication companies as well as one of the largest Internet providers.
Maroc Telecom is the leading mobile, landline phone and Internet provider in Morocco. Vivendi owns 53% of the company. The group is also active in Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Gabon and Mali.
Created in 2000, GVT is Brazil’s leading company in high-speed Internet and connected television. Vivendi has owned the company since 2009.
On December 14, 1853, a water company named Compagnie Générale des Eaux (CGE) was created by an imperial decree of Napoleon III. In 1854, CGE obtained a concession in order to supply water to the public in Lyon, serving in that capacity for over a hundred years. In 1861, it obtained a 50-year concession with the City of Paris.
For more than a century, Compagnie Générale des Eaux remained largely focused on the water sector. However, following the appointment of Guy Dejouany as CEO in 1976, CGE extended its activities into other sectors with a series of takeovers. Beginning in 1980, CGE began diversifying its operations from water into waste management, energy, transport services, and construction and property. It acquired the Compagnie Générale d'Entreprises Automobiles (CGEA), specialized in industrial vehicles, which was later divided into two branches: Connex and Onyx Environnement. CGE then acquired the Compagnie Générale de Chauffe, and later the Montenay group. The Energy Services division these companies became part of, was later (1998) renamed Dalkia.
In 1983, CGE helped to found Canal+, the first Pay-TV channel in France, and in the 1990s, they began expanding into telecommunications and mass media, especially after Jean-Marie Messier succeeded Guy Dejouany on June 27, 1996. In 1996, CGE created Cegetel to take advantage of the 1998 deregulation of the French telecommunications market, accelerating the move into the media sector which would culminate in the 2000 demerger into Vivendi Universal and Vivendi Environnement (Veolia).
Creation of "Vivendi"
In 1998, Compagnie Générale des Eaux changed its name to Vivendi, and sold off its property and construction divisions the following year to what would become Vinci. Vivendi went on to acquire stakes in or merge with Maroc Telecom, Havas, Cendant Software, Anaya, and NetHold, a large Continental European pay-TV operator. Beginning in 1998, Vivendi launched digital channels in Italy, Spain, Poland, Scandinavia, Belgium, and the Netherlands.
In June 1999, Vivendi merged with Pathé, the exchange ratio for the merger fixed at three Vivendi shares for every two Pathé shares. The Wall Street Journal estimated the value of the deal at US$2.59 billion. Following the completion of the merger, Vivendi retained Pathé's interests in British Sky Broadcasting Group PLC and CanalSatellite, a French broadcasting corporation, then sold all remaining assets to Jérôme Seydoux's family-owned holding company, Fornier SA, who changed its name to Pathé.
In July 2000, Vivendi spun off its water and waste companies—once its core business—along with interests in other public service sectors such as transport into Vivendi Environnement (IPO in Paris in July 2000 and in New York in October 2001), later (2003) renamed Veolia Environnement.
Vivendi Universal Entertainment was created in December 2000 with the merger of the Vivendi media empire with Canal+ television networks and the acquisition of Universal Studios from Canadian company Seagram.
Vivendi Universal acquired MP3.com and a leading American publisher, Houghton Mifflin in 2001.
Vivendi Universal disclosed a corporate loss of €23.3 billion in its 2002 annual report. It responded with financial reshuffling, trying to shore up media holdings while selling off shares in its spin-off companies. Amid intense media scrutiny, its chairman and CEO, Jean-Marie Messier (who had overseen the most dramatic phase of the company's diversification), was subsequently replaced by Jean-René Fourtou. Messier was found guilty of embezzlement in 2011, but not before he was paid over US$20 million as part of his severance package. The company reduced its stake in Vivendi Environnement to 40% and sold its stake in Vinci Construction. The company then began reorganizing to stave off bankruptcy, announcing a strategy to sell non-strategic assets. Its largest single shareholder was the family of Edgar Bronfman, Jr., who was head of Seagram at the time of the merger. Vivendi sold its stake in Vizzavi to Vodafone, with the exception of Vizzavi France. It also sold 20.4% of Vivendi Environnement's capital to a group of investors, and its stake in North American satellite operator EchoStar Communications Corporation. It also sold Houghton Mifflin to Thomas H Lee, Blackstone and Bain consortium for US$1.66 billion.
In 2003, Vivendi Universal sold Canal+ Technologies to Thomson (formerly Thomson Multimédia); Tele+ to News Corporation and Telecom Italia. It also sold its 26.3% interest in Xfera. On December 1, Vivendi Universal closed a deal to sell MP3.com to CNET. Despite predictions that it would be unable to raise the cash needed, VU bought out one of the two minority shareholders in Cegetel, taking its holding to 60 percent, with Vodafone holding the remaining 40 percent. Management viewed the mobile communications firm as a core asset once the bulk of media assets had been sold off.
In 2004, 80% of the Vivendi Universal Entertainment branch was sold to GE, to form NBC Universal, with VU retaining a 20 percent stake. At the same time, it sold a 50% stake in Canal+ and StudioCanal to the new company. Vivendi also sold its interests in Kencell (re-branded Celtel, Kenya), Monaco Telecom and Sportfive (which it held through Canal+ Group), and sold Newsworld International to the business partnership of Joel Hyatt and former Vice-President of the United States Al Gore.
On December 16 2005, it was announced that Canal Plus would merge with TPS, France's second largest Pay-TV provider. If the €5 billion (US$5.9 billion; £3.4 bn) tie-up is approved, VU will own 85% of the combined entity.
On January 17 2006, Vivendi Universal announced it would end its American Depositary Receipt program and its listing on the New York Stock Exchange by the end of the second quarter of 2006, due to lowered trading volume on its shares and high costs.
Vivendi in its current form came into existence on April 20, 2006, following the sale of an 80% stake in the Vivendi Universal Entertainment unit to General Electric to form NBC Universal (merging GE's NBC unit and Vivendi's Vivendi Universal Entertainment unit) and the gradual recovery of the company from its disastrous over-expansion in the late 1990s and the early 2000s. The company announced that shareholders had approved the name change to "Vivendi".
In August 2006, Vivendi signed a deal with Spiralfrog to distribute Vivendi's songs online in the United States and Canada. On 8 September, the company announced that Sierra Entertainment, a division of its Vivendi Games group, would be publishing the new game for Double Fine Productions, later revealed to be Brütal Legend.
On December 2, 2007, Vivendi announced that it would be merging its Vivendi Games unit with Activision in a $18.8 billion deal. This will allow the merged company, Activision Blizzard, to rival Electronic Arts, the world's biggest video games publisher. The merger closed on July 9, 2008, for $9.8 billion. Vivendi held a 52% majority stake in the new business.
On September 8, 2009, Vivendi announced negotiations to buy the Brazilian phone operator Global Village Telecom (GVT). Vivendi took control of GVT at a cost of 56 reais per share, on November 13, trumping Telefónica's bid.
On December 3, 2009, GE announced it would purchase Vivendi's stake in NBC Universal, which will become a joint venture between GE and Comcast. Vivendi sold its stake in NBC Universal on January 25, 2011.
- "Annual Report 2011" (PDF). Vivendi. Retrieved 23 May 2012.
- "Contacts Vivendi". Retrieved on 15 March 2010.
- Vivendi, Lagardère in legal spat over Canal+, Reuters
- Vivendi annual profit plunge 94%, NASDAQ
- Sawiris interested in Vivendi's SFR, Reuters
- Vivendi Biding Time on Brazil, Morocco Asset Disposals Bloomberg
- History CGE-Vivendi-Veolia Environment 1853-1900
- History CGE-Vivendi-Veolia Environment 1950-2000
- Society of Academic Authors: Late October 2002 News
- "Vivendi Voluntarily Delists from NYSE and Terminates ADR Program". Vivendi.com. Retrieved 2013-03-04.
- Video game giants in $18bn merger - BBC
- Guitar Hero meets Warcraft in Vivendi-Activision deal - Reuters
- Press release dated July 10, 2008
- Livesey, Ben (2009-09-08). "Vivendi to Make Offer to Buy GVT (Holding) at BRL42 a Share". Bloomberg.com. Retrieved 2013-03-04.
- "AFP: France's Vivendi takes control of Brazil's GVT". Google.com. 2009-11-13. Retrieved 2013-03-04.
- By David Goldman and Julianne Pepitone, CNNMoney.com staff writers (2009-12-03). ""GE, Comcast announce NBC Universal joint venture deal" David Goldman and Julianne Pepitone, CNNMoney.com (December 3, 2009)". Money.cnn.com. Retrieved 2013-03-04.
- Vivendi has sold all its stake in NBC Universal for a total of $5.8 billion January 26, 2011, Vivendi Press Release
- Vivendi SA Chief Executive Officer Gains Ownership of the Biggest Cash Cow | French Tribune
- Vivendi to Purchase Vodafone Stake in SFR for 7.95 Billion Euros - Businessweek
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