Vivendi Universal

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Vivendi Universal




Address: 42, Avenue de Friedland, Paris Cedex 08, 75380, France


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Subsidiaries: Canal+ Group, Vivendi Universal Games (99%), Universal Music Group (92%), SFR Cegetel Group (56%)
Affiliates: Maroc Telecom (35%), NBC Universal (20%), Sierra Entertainment (?%)


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Vivendi Universal (VU) is a French company active in media and communications with activities in music, television and film, publishing, telecommunications and the Internet.

The company employs about 55.000 people.







Vivendi Universal was created in December of 2000 with the massive merger of the Vivendi media empire with Canal+ television networks and the Canadian company Seagram, the owner of Universal Studios film company.

See the individual companies' articles for pre-merger company history.



In 2001, VU acquired and a leading American publisher, Houghton Mifflin.



In 2002, VU began facing financial trouble. It began financial reshuffling, trying to shore up media holdings while selling off shares in its spin-off companies.

VU reduced its stake in Vivendi Environnement to 40% and sold its stake in Vinci.

The flamboyant company's, Chairman of the board and CEO, Jean-Marie Messier (who had overseen the most dramatic phase of Vivendi's diversification) resigned. He was replaced by Jean-Rene Fourtou. The company then began reorganizing to stave off bankruptcy. The company announced its 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.

VU 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.

The company disclosed a corporate loss of 23.3 billion euros in its 2002 annual report: the worst loss to this date for a French company. Its Chairman and CEO, Jean-Marie Messier was ousted among intense media coverage.



VU sold Canal+ Technologies to Thomson (formerly Thomson Multim├ędia); Tele+ to News Corporation and Telecom Italia. It also sold its 26.3% interest in Xfera.

On March 6, 2003, Vivendi disclosed its annual report (term ended at December 31,2002). Some highlights include:

  • Corporate loss of 23.3 billion euros: the worst loss for a French company.
  • Net debt of 12.3 billion euros
  • Vivendi will sell assets for 7 billons euros in 2003

On December 1, 2003, Vivendi closed a deal to sell to CNET.



The Vivendi Universal Entertainment branch merged with NBC broadcasting corporation, to form NBC Universal.

VU also sold its interests in Kencell, Monaco Telecom and Sportfive (which it held through Canal+ Group).

VU sold Newsworld International to the business partnership of Joel Hyatt and former Vice-President of the United States Al Gore.



  • Vivendi Universal acquires High Moon - Joystiq
  • Vivendi Universal: Telecommunications in Poland - TMCnet
  • Universal Pictures Unveils Inaugural High Definition DVD Lineup - PR Newswire (press release)
  • Vivendi's Universal Music Germany takes minority stake in Net ... - Forbes
  • The Sub-Zero Heroes Are Back! Vivendi Universal Games Announces ... - PR Newswire (press release)
  • Vivendi Universal Games Announces Ice Age 2 Game - Animation World Network
  • Patti Santangelo fights Big Music -
  • Battle of the Ownership of Scrat, a Key Character in Fox's Ice Age ... - PR Newswire (press release)
  • Vivendi Universal eyes pay TV merger - ABC News
  • UPDATE 1-Vivendi Universal eyes TPS-Canal Plus tie - Reuters

Image:Wikipedia-small.png Wikipedia article about Vivendi Universal (search). This article uses material from that article.