Vivendi: strong growth in revenue in the third quarter, led by UMG


Paris (awp / afp) – French media giant Vivendi announced Thursday revenue growth of 16.7% in the third quarter, better than expected growth and largely driven by revenues from the subsidiary Universal Music Group ( UMG), whose physical album sales continue to surprise.

The group recorded sales of 3.97 billion euros, an increase of 7.2% at constant scope and exchange rates, while the consensus of financial analysts was 5.2%. Vivendi and 12% for UMG.

Major UMG has far exceeded this forecast, recording a turnover of 1.8 billion euros, an increase of 15.7% despite a high comparison base in the third quarter of 2018 which had seen the revenues of subscriptions to services streaming music progress of 38.6%.

Yet "the surprise is not streaming, but physical sales, once again", which rose 14.8% over the quarter, told AFP Jean-Baptiste Sergeant, analyst at MainFirst.

In this segment, "the trend should normally decline," acknowledged the chairman of the Board of Vivendi Arnaud Puyfontaine during a conference call, without detailing further reasons for this "good surprise".

Vivendi also announced that the completion of negotiations with Chinese Tencent for the sale of 10% of UMG to an enterprise value of 30 billion euros (or 3 billion euros for 10%) would take place "in the next weeks". The group, which wants to sell up to 50% of Universal, also reports having received new marks of interest "at an equivalent price level."

Sources close to the record, financial partners and technology companies are cited among the candidates sought.

The Canal + group saw its revenue decrease by 0.9% at constant exchange rates and scope, to 1.28 billion euros. French revenues, burdened by the erosion of 2.6% of the number of subscribers in metropolitan France (including subscribers via telecom operators, less profitable), fell by 2% in the quarter. Vivendi did not specify this quarter the number of subscribers live (without going through a telecom operator) to Canal +, which declined steadily in recent quarters.

At the same time, the Canal + Group's subscriber base reached nearly 19 million, integrating the two million subscribers of the M7 channel network acquired in September.

Disappointingly, the Havas communications subsidiary saw its turnover remain stable, but its net revenues – the benchmark for the sector – fell by 2.1% in the quarter, at constant exchange rates and perimeter.

While Havas has made two "future-growth" acquisitions (independent Buzzman in France and Langoor in India) over the period, its revenues are falling in Europe (-5%) and in Asia and Africa (-4.1%). ).

The Editis subsidiary (number two in the French publishing market), integrated since 1 February, saw its turnover rise by 15.3% over the period to 210 million euros, mainly because of the reform school programs, explains Vivendi.

The share buyback program decided at the last general meeting continues until 13 November. It must lead to the cancellation of securities equivalent to 7.23% of the capital, leading to an increase in the shares held by each shareholder, including the Bollore group.

afp / rp

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