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Vivendi ponders EMI buy, as its games biz rivals music

Activision Blizzard snapping at Universal's heels

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The world's biggest record company, Vivendi-owned Universal Music, is looking at EMI – but is non-committal about an acquisition.

"We have the strongest music business in the world, but we have a duty to look at their assets and see if any make sense," Vivendi boss Jean-Bernard Levy said yesterday.

Music is but a small part of the entertainment giant's business, and a shrinking one. In the first half of 2010 Universal Music Group was almost overtaken by Vivendi's Activision Blizzard, owner of the Call of Duty and Modern Warfare franchises.

Activision Blizzard achieved (pdf) revenues of €1.857bn, compared to €1.863bn at Universal.

Overall, the Vivendi group made revenues of €14.25bn, up 1.9 per cent and net income after tax of of €1.83bn. Vivendi also owns Canal+ and French mobile operator SFR. The company started as the water and sewage monopoly for Lyons and Paris under Napoleon III. ®

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