|Type||Public (Euronext: VIV)|
|Founded||1853 (as Compagnie générale des eaux)
1998 (as Vivendi)
|Key people||Jean-Bernard Lévy (CEO), Jean-René Fourtou (Chairman of the board)|
|Products||Music publishing, film production, publishing, pay TV services, television broadcasting, telecommunication services, video game publishing|
|Revenue||€25.39 billion (2008)|
|Operating income||▲ €4.260 billion (2008)|
|Profit||▲ €2.735 billion (2008)|
|Total assets||€56.67 billion (2008)|
Universal Music Group
Activision Blizzard (54%)
NBC Universal (20%)
Maroc Telecom (53%)
Vivendi SA (formerly known as Vivendi Universal) is a French international media conglomerate with activities in music, television and film, publishing, telecommunications, the Internet, and video games. It is headquartered in Paris.
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 this 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).
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 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 & 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.
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.
Vivendi Universal disclosed a corporate loss of €23.3 billion in its 2002 annual report; the worst loss to date for a French company. 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.
Vivendi is a Fortune Global 500 company ranked #264, with a total revenue in the year 2008 of 29.6 billion USD.  However, its massive expansion in the late 90s and early 21st century has caused the company both financial and legal trouble. The problems arose during the term of former CEO, Jean-Marie Messier; both US and French regulators are investigating potential cover-ups of company losses. Vivendi is also an example of privatization of a public service, the distribution of water and wastewater.
Vivendi owns Canal+ Group (television) and Universal Music Group, Vivendi Entertainment, controlling stakes in Activision Blizzard (video games), Maroc Telecom and SFR (telecommunications), and 20% of NBC Universal (television and film).
|Located||Los Angeles, California, USA|
Vivendi Games (formerly known as Vivendi Universal Games) is a global developer, publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment. Vivendi Games is a 100% subsidiary of Vivendi SA. Headed by Bruce Hack, it is headquartered in Los Angeles, California and employs over 3,400 people at 4 separate development divisions: Blizzard Entertainment, Sierra Entertainment, Sierra Online, Vivendi Games Mobile.
Vivendi Games owns the rights to such franchises as Warcraft, StarCraft, Diablo and World of Warcraft as well as others like Crash Bandicoot, Spyro, Empire Earth, Leisure Suit Larry, Ground Control and Tribes.
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