Vivendi Q2 Earnings Slip, UMG Results Improve

French entertainment and telecom conglomerate Vivendi on Thursday reported lower second-quarter earnings amid weaker results at its telecom businesses.

The company, which owns Universal Music Group, French pay TV giant Canal Plus and others, also reported virtually unchanged revenue of $7.23 billion (5.43 billion). That was down 0.5% from the year-ago period.

Adjusted net earnings were down 16.6% to $637 million (479 million). Earnings before interest, taxes and amortization (EBITA), another key profitability metric for the company, fell 19.9% to $1.01 billion (762 million).

The company, led by CEO Jean-Francois Dubos, has said it wants to focus on its wholly owned media and entertainment assets. It has agreed to negotiate a sale of its stake in Maroc Telecom and unload a majority of its controlling stake in video game maker Activision Blizzard.

As a result, Activision Blizzard and Maroc Telecom were reported in Vivendi’s latest results as discontinued operations.

EBITA at Universal Music rose 4.9% in the second quarter, while Canal Plus saw a minimal 0.3% decline. But telecom EBITA dropped 26.8% in the quarter, led by continuing challenges at French firm SFR.

"Recorded music best sellers [in the] first half year were led by carryover sales from Rihanna and Imagine Dragons, the Les Miserables soundtrack and the acoustic album Believe from Justin Bieber," the company said.

“Vivendi’s subsidiaries are confronted with a challenging economic environment and highly competitive markets. In this context, the group’s media businesses have resisted, benefiting from the first positive impacts of the acquisitions and growth drivers they put in place," said Dubos. "Vivendi is realizing at its own pace its announced restructuring aimed at achieving new growth milestones. Our priority remains the creation of shareholder value.”