money digest


Vivendi mulls NBC Uni sale

Vivendi's CEO said Friday that the French media and telecommunications group is examining the possible sale of its 20% stake in NBC Universal, controlled by General Electric, or parts of it as it has the option to reduce its holding starting next year. "We are asking ourselves what we will do with this 20%," Jean-Bernard Levy said at an investor conference in Paris. "We are currently examining it." Levy also said he recently worked for weeks with private-equity firm KKR as it considered a friendly takeover bid for Vivendi, but it was not able to offer a significant price premium in the end.

TV ads drive Belo in Oct.

Media firm Belo Corp. reported a 9.8% year-over-year increase in October revenue driven by strong television advertising momentum. The company recorded $153.6 million in revenue for the month. TV group revenue jumped 27% to $82.9 million, with ad revenue from the TV group's Web sites up 56%. Political ad revenue amounted to $20.7 million.

Japan's Fuji TV up, Asahi down

Two of Japan's largest private broadcasters on Friday reported starkly contrasting performances for the first half of the fiscal year, with Fuji Television Network recording a 19% profit gain, while TV Asahi Corp.'s earnings tumbled more than 14%. TV Asahi's profit for the April-September period declined by ¥4.31 billion ($36.5 million) in spite of a 1.1% increase in revenue to more than ¥124.7 billion ($1.1 billion). "Our sales are up but the biggest impact has been made by a rise in program costs," a spokesman said. Rival Fuji TV, Japan's largest broadcaster, posted a group pretax profit of ¥26.2 billion ($222.2 million) thanks to reduced tax costs. The corporation warned, however, that advertisers' strategy of diversifying their ad placements will inevitably hit the industry in the coming months.