Vivendi SA (formerly
Vivendi Universal SA) is a French multinational
mass media conglomerate headquartered in Paris. The company has
activities in music, television, film, video games,
telecommunications, tickets and video hosting service.
Television and film:
1.2 Video games:
Ubisoft & Gameloft
1.4 Video hosting service: Dailymotion
2.2 Creation of "Vivendi"
2.3 Corporate loss
2.4 Further acquisitions, mergers and divestments
3 See also
5 External links
Main article: List of assets owned by Vivendi
Vivendi is a company primarily focused on digital entertainment. It
owns the French TV channel and movie producer
Canal+ Group, as well as
music world leader Universal
Music Group. On 25 July 2013, Vivendi
Activision Blizzard announced the purchase of 429 million shares
Vivendi for $5.83 billion, dropping the shareholder from a 63%
stake to 11.8% by the end of the deal in September, ending Vivendi's
majority ownership of
Activision Blizzard. In 2014,
Vivendi decided to
sell mobile companies
SFR (France) to Patrick Drahi's company,
Altice, and GVT (Brazil) to the Brazilian company Telefônica
Vivo. In November 2013, it signed the definitive agreement to sell
its majority and controlling stake in
Maroc Telecom (Morocco) to
Etisalat based in Abu Dhabi.
Vivendi's president Vincent Bolloré, appointed in June 2014, wants to
continue resolutely on the chosen path and aims at developing
synergies between the company's subsidiaries now refocused on media:
Canal+ Group, Universal
Vivendi Village, Dailymotion,
Gameloft and Telecom Italia.
Television and film:
Canal+ Group is the leading pay television group in France. It is also
an international movie and television series producer and distributor
with StudioCanal. In November 2013,
Vivendi became the exclusive
owner of France's biggest pay-TV company.
Ubisoft & Gameloft
Vivendi (once the owner of Blizzard, later
searching for a new games publisher property has started investing in
Ubisoft and Gameloft. The brothers in charge of
Gameloft, Yves Guillemot and Michel Guillemot respectively, view
the investments as a hostile takeover attempt, and are raising
capital from within the family and from Canadian investors to
maintain control of the companies. As of 8 June 2016,
acquired a controlling stake in Gameloft. In news from 11 September
2016 Yves Guillemot is set to buy an additional 3.5% of
to raise his stake to 12.5% to attempt to block a takeover from
Vivendi. Yves has been attempting to lobby other shareholders to
prevent them selling their shares to Vivendi. As of 20th of March
Vivendi has sold all its shares in
bought in in their place.
Vivendi Village comprises a group of small companies active in digital
and in live entertainment.
Vivendi Ticketing comprises the ticketing businesses
See Tickets in
the UK and the US, as well as Digitick Group in France. Both
businesses specialize in the retail and distribution of tickets for
live entertainment, sport and cultural events, in addition to
providing operating platforms for venues to run their own ticketing
Vivendi Ticketing processes annually over 40 million
tickets. The business also operates as an internal service provider to
Vivendi businesses notably
Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group where tickets
are sold for and on behalf of the group's artists.
MyBestPro provides experts counseling in different fields (Wengo,
RDVmedicaux, Juritravail, Bordas, Devispresto).
Watchever is a subscription video-on-demand service available in
Vivendi Village also owns the Paris-based concert venue L'Olympia.
Vivendi announced that it will open ten live-performance
venues in central and west Africa. These venues will be named
CanalOlympia, they will serve as concert halls, theaters and screening
Video hosting service: Dailymotion
Vivendi purchased an 80% stake in
Dailymotion from its
previous owner, Orange S.A.
Vivendi announced that it increased this stake to 90% in September
On 14 December 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. CGE also
supplied water to Nantes,
Venice (from 1880), Constantinople (from
Porto (from 1883). For more than a century, Compagnie
Générale des Eaux remained largely focused on the water sector.
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 (later
Veolia Transport) in
1999 and Onyx Environnement (later
Veolia Environmental Services) in
1989. CGE then acquired the Compagnie Générale de Chauffe, and
later the Montenay group, with these companies later becoming the
Energy Services division of CGE, and later renamed "Dalkia" in
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 27 June 1996. In 1996, CGE created
Neuf 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
Creation of "Vivendi"
Vivendi Universal logo from 2000 to 2006
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 SA.
Vivendi went on to acquire stakes
in or merge with Maroc Telecom, Havas, Cendant Software, Grupo Anaya,
and NetHold, a large Continental European pay-TV operator. Beginning
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,
Pathé's interests in
British Sky Broadcasting Group PLC
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.
Vivendi Universal SA was created on 8 December 2000 with the merger of
Vivendi media empire with
Canal+ television networks and the
acquisition of media assets of Canadian company
Seagram Company Ltd,
owner of Universal Studios.
Vivendi Universal acquired
MP3.com and a leading American publisher,
Houghton Mifflin in year 2001.
Main article: Veolia
Vivendi Environnement was formed in 1999 by
Vivendi to consolidate its
environmental divisions, which were CGEA Transport, Onyx Environnement
Veolia Environmental Services),
Dalkia and CGE water division. As
a result, CGEA Transport was renamed Connex (later
and CGE's water division was renamed
Vivendi Water (now Veolia
Water). In July 2000,
Vivendi Environnement was divested through
Paris and later New York in October 2001). Initially, Vivendi
Universal retained a 70% stake in
Vivendi Environnement in 2000, but
by December 2002, it was reduced to 20.4%. In 2003, Vivendi
Environnement was renamed to
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 SA. 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. Also in 2002,
Vivendi Universal sold the Belgian and
Dutch activities of its subsidiary Scoot Europe to Kapitol, the parent
company of online directory Infobel.
Vivendi Universal sold
Canal+ Technologies to Thomson SA;
News Corporation and Telecom Italia. It also sold its 26.3%
interest in Xfera. On 1 December,
Vivendi Universal closed a deal to
MP3.com to CNET. Despite predictions that it would be unable to
raise the cash needed,
Vivendi Universal bought out one of the two
minority shareholders in Cegetel, taking its holding to 60 percent,
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.
Further acquisitions, mergers and divestments
In 2004, 80% of the
Vivendi Universal branch was sold to GE, to form
NBC Universal, with
Vivendi retaining a 20 percent stake. At the same
time, it sold a 50% stake in
StudioCanal to the new
Vivendi also sold its interests in Kencell (re-branded
Monaco Telecom and
Sportfive (which it held through
Canal+ Group), and sold
Newsworld International to the business
Joel Hyatt and former Vice-President of the United
States Al Gore.
On 16 December 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[needs update].
On 17 January 2006,
Vivendi Universal announced it would end its
American Depositary Receipt
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.
On 20 April 2006,
Vivendi in its current form came into existence,
following the sale of an 80% stake in the
Vivendi Universal unit to
General Electric to form
NBC Universal (merging GE's NBC unit and
Vivendi Universal 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
Vivendi Games group, would be publishing the new game for
Double Fine Productions, later revealed to be Brütal Legend.
On 2 December 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 9 July 2008, for $9.8 billion.
Vivendi held a 52%
majority stake in the new business.
On 8 September 2009,
Vivendi announced negotiations to buy the
Brazilian phone operator
Global Village Telecom
Global Village Telecom (GVT). Vivendi
took control of GVT at a cost of 56 reais per share, on 13 November,
trumping Telefónica's bid.
On 3 December 2009, GE announced it would purchase Vivendi's stake in
NBC Universal, which would become a joint venture between GE and
Vivendi sold its stake in
NBC Universal on 25 January
On 4 April 2011,
Vodafone sold its 44% stake in mobile service
Vivendi for about $11 billion and giving Vivendi
full control of its largest unit.
Vivendi announced having entered a strategic review of its
assets and decided to refocus its activities on media and content
activities while maximizing its telecoms assets.
In October 2013, as a result of its strategic review, it sold the
majority of its interest in
Activision Blizzard, keeping a 12% stake
in the games company.
In November 2013,
Vivendi also sold its 53% stake in
Maroc Telecom to
Etisalat for around $4.2 billion.
Vivendi also confirmed in November 2013 its intention to launch a
demerger plan which would result in
Vivendi becoming an international
media group consisting primarily of Canal+,
Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group and
SFR would be listed separately on the stock market. As a
result of the foregoing,
Vivendi group results for the first semester
2014 are in a strong growth, witnessing the success of its
Net income was up 84,8% to €1.9 billion.
In August 2014
Vivendi sells GVT to Telefônica Vivo, a subsidiary of
Telefónica in Brazil.
The moves have allowed
Vivendi to rapidly pay down debt and increase
cash returns to shareholders while leaving it with ammunition to do
acquisitions of its own. Indeed, once the
SFR deal closes, Vivendi
will have a cash pile of around €5 billion, leaving it with some
room to maneuver even after it pays down debt and returns nearly €5
billion in dividends and share buybacks to shareholders.
Vivendi's priority is now content. The French group is expected to
expand its assets in the content industries in the coming year.
On 28 May 2014,
Vivendi sold half of its remaining shares (nearly 41.5
million shares) in
Activision Blizzard for $850 million, reducing its
stake to 6%.
In April 2015, it was announced that a shareholder in the company
Bolloré raised its stake from 10.2 percent to 12.01 percent for a
total fee of €568 million.
Vivendi bought 80% share in Dailymotion. According to the
Wall Street Journal, the "French media group offered around $273
million for streaming service".
Vivendi was in talks with Orange,
to Buy 80% stake in Dailymotion. Also,
Vivendi announced extra payouts
in compromise with P. Schoenfeld
Asset Management shareholder.
It was revealed in October 2015 that
Vivendi would increase its stake
Telecom Italia to around 19% of the ordinary share capital as part
of its aims to increase its influence in the group.
In October 2015,
Vivendi bought minority stakes in the French video
Gameloft and Ubisoft. On 17 December 2015, Vivendi
acquired a 64.4% majority stake in Belgian online radio aggregator
Radionomy (including its media player platform
Winamp and internet
radio streaming software Shoutcast). Its shareholders, including its
employees and U.S.-based investment firm Union Square Ventures,
however, retained their stakes in the company.
In June 2016, after having triggered a mandatory tender offer in
February 2016 by reaching 30% ownership, and then becoming its largest
Vivendi completed a hostile takeover of
Gameloft with the
acquisition of its founders' stake. At the same time,
further increased its stake in Ubisoft, which has led to concern from
the company's management that
Vivendi was also planning a hostile
takeover of Ubisoft.
In an auction on 6 June,
Vivendi won a bid to acquire Flavorus from
SFX Entertainment for $4 million. Also that month, it acquired
Paddington and Company Limited-owner of
Paddington Bear and other
properties, and The Copyrights Group.
Vivendi declared that it owned 12.3% of
Mediaset on December 2016.
List of French companies
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