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Cendant quits entertainment software business

Sierra Online, Blizzard etc. sold to French media giant Havas

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French media company Havas is set for a $1 billion take-over of Cendant's consumer software business, helping Cendant recover from massive accounting fraud. Havas will buy entertainment and educational software sold under names including Knowledge Adventure, Blizzard Entertainment, Davidson & Associates and Sierra On-Line. Paris-based Havas is a subsidiary of Vivendi, a French utility and communications company. Cendant, a franchising and marketing company, saw share prices rise $1.25 to $15.68 in Friday morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange following news of the deal. US-based Cendant has been shuffling parts of the company around after years of acquisitions, trimming back to its main core business to raise cash and boost stock price. The software unit was part of CUC international, which merged with Silverman's HFS to form Cendant. Cendant has stated that CUC staff were responsible for posting $500 million in bogus business revenues, and $200 million in accounting errors over three years. ®

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