Vivendi first-half revenue up 17%

Huge growth seen at Activision Blizzard games arm

PARIS -- French media powerhouse Vivendi managed to weather the global economic storm during the first half of 2009, but still suffered dips in profit across the board, Europe's largest entertainment group said Tuesday.

Vivendi posted a 6.6% rise in second-quarter net profit and revenue reached €13.2 billion ($18.89 billion) in the first half of the year, up 17% compared to the first half of 2008.

The colossal success of the group's games division Activision Blizzard offset losses at Universal music and Gallic mobile group SFR. Activision Blizzard, which Vivendi bought up in 2007, boasted two of the top five best-selling titles in the U.S. and Europe during the first six months of the year, namely "Guitar Hero World Tour" and "Call of Duty: World at War."

"Vivendi achieved a very solid first half 2009 in a difficult environment," Vivendi's CEO Jean-Bernard Levy said in a statement, adding: "The group is successfully weathering the current economic slowdown, which is having a real, but limited impact."

Meanwhile, French pay TV group Canal Plus increased its subscriptions, boosting the group's revenue to €2.2 billion ($3.15 billion) at the end of June.
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