Music group is rare bright spot for Vivendi in 1st quarter

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Media and telecom firm Vivendi SA on Wednesday reported a 9.6% decline in first-quarter adjusted profit on weaker results at its video game unit.

Adjusted profit, which excludes one-time items, fell 9.6% to €697 million ($1.1 billion), but the figure exceeded expectations. When including one-time items, profit fell 41% to €555 million ($858.7 million). Revenue rose 5.2%, or 6.9% at constant currency rates, to €5.3 billion ($8.2 billion).

Based on the results, Vivendi reiterated its forecast for full-year 2008 profit gains.

Vivendi's Universal Music Group grew first-quarter revenue 0.6%, or 6.8% assuming constant currencies, to €1 billion ($1.6 billion), helped by the acquisition of BMG Music Publishing and Sanctuary and a 33% increase in digital music sales. Music operating profit rose 94.7% to €111 million ($171.7 million). Best-sellers in the period came from Jack Johnson, Janet Jackson and Amy Winehouse.

The Vivendi Games unit continued to see gains for "World of Warcraft," which added more than 700,000 players in the first quarter. But the latest period was no match for the year-ago quarter, which included a "Warcraft" expansion pack. As a result, gaming revenue fell 24.1% to €221 million ($342 million). (partialdiff)
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