Vivendi Third-Quarter Profit Exceeds Estimates

Video game unit Activision Blizard is key growth engine.

PARIS -- Alien war games and Brazilian telephones proved successful and profitable for Vivendi during the third quarter.

The French media and telecom powerhouse beat estimates for its quarterly revenue with an 8.5% jump to €6.89 billion compared to last year’s figures.

Adjusted quarterly earnings rose 6.7% to €688 million, also exceeding expectations.

The third quarter saw profit growth at video game firm Activision Blizzard and Universal Music Group and a slight decline at pay TV arm Canal Plus Group.

The first nine months of the year were also fertile for Vivendi, which boasted a 6.9% increase in revenue to €20.9 billion ($28.4 billion) from January through September. Adjusted profit totaled €2.2 billion, a 4.8% increase over the year-ago period.

Vivendi’s financial success for the nine months was fueled mostly by strong performance at Activision Blizzard and at its recently purchased Brazilian telecom company GVT. Canal Plus also posted a slight gain.

But Universal Music Group struggled with a 1.7% drop in revenue over the period and a 9.3% profit decline amid fewer releases and continued weakness in physical sales. Key sellers year-to-date include Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Eminem.

Strong sales for its World of Warcraft, Starcraft and Call of Duty franchises saw Activision’s revenue soar 14.8% to €2.3 billion compared to the same period last year and 17% in the third quarter.