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Vivendi SE
  • Compagnie générale des eaux (1853–1997)
  • Vivendi SARL (1997–2001)
  • Vivendi Universal SA (2001–2006)
  • Vivendi SA (2006–2021)
Company typePublic
ISINFR0000127771 Edit this on Wikidata
Founded14 December 1853; 170 years ago (1853-12-14)
FounderNapoleon III[1]
Area served
Key people
RevenueIncrease 10.5 billion[2] (2023)
Increase €0.93 billion[2] (2023)
Decrease €0.72 billion[2] (2023)
Total assetsIncrease €38.3 billion[2] (2023)
Total equityDecrease €17.1 billion[2] (2023)
OwnerBolloré (27% equity, 30% voting power)
Number of employees
Increase 73,000[2] (2023)

Vivendi SE is a French mass-media holding company headquartered in Paris. It owns Gameloft, Groupe Canal+, Havas, Prisma Media, Vivendi Village, and Dailymotion, and is a majority owner of the Lagardère Group. The company has activities in television, film, video games, book publishing, print press, communication, tickets, and video hosting services.

In 2000 Vivendi Universal was created from the merger with Groupe Canal+ and Seagram Company Ltd (owner of Universal Studios). In 2006 it sold off most of the Universal components and its name reverted to Vivendi.

As of 2021, Vivendi's chairman Yannick Bolloré is also CEO of Havas, which was spun off from Vivendi in 2000 but has since become a subsidiary. The company is known for its stake in Universal Music Group, which it partially spun off in 2021.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • Vivendi Universal Games/Fox Interactive/Gracie Films/Radical Entertainment (2003)
  • What if?: Vivendi Universal Television logo (2000-2004)
  • Vivendi Entertainment logo [open matte] (2008)
  • Vivendi Entertainnment Logo Alternative
  • Terre de Passions - Extrait - Novelas TV




Original Vivendi logo

On 14 December 1853, a water company named Compagnie générale des eaux (CGE) was created by an imperial decree of Napoleon III.[1] In 1854, CGE obtained a concession in order to supply water to the public in Lyon, serving in that capacity for over a hundred years. In 1861, it obtained a 50-year concession with the City of Paris.[4] CGE also supplied water to Nantes, Venice (from 1880), Constantinople (from 1882) and Porto (from 1883).[1] For more than a century, Compagnie générale des eaux remained largely focused on the water sector.

Following the appointment of Guy Dejouany as CEO in 1976, CGE extended its activities into other sectors with a series of takeovers.[1] Beginning in 1980, CGE began diversifying its operations from water into waste management, energy, transport services, and construction and property. It acquired the Compagnie générale d'entreprises automobiles (CGEA), specialized in industrial vehicles, which was later divided into two branches: Connex (later Veolia Transport) in 1999 and Onyx Environnement (later Veolia Environmental Services) in 1989.[5] CGE then acquired the Compagnie générale de chauffe, and the Montenay group, with these companies later becoming the Energy Services division of CGE, and later renamed "Dalkia" in 1998.[5]

In 1983, CGE helped to found Canal+, the first pay-TV channel in France, and in the 1990s, they began expanding into telecommunications and mass media, especially after Jean-Marie Messier succeeded Guy Dejouany on 27 June 1996, acquiring companies such as the Babelsberg Studio.[citation needed] In 1996, CGE created Neuf Cegetel to take advantage of the 1998 deregulation of the French telecommunications market, accelerating the move into the media sector which would culminate in the 2000 demerger into Vivendi Universal and Vivendi Environnement (Veolia).[6][better source needed]

Creation of Vivendi

Vivendi Universal logo from 2001 to 2006

In 1997, Compagnie Générale des Eaux changed its name to Vivendi (derived from the Latin "vivendus"), and sold off its property and construction divisions the following year to what would become Vinci SA. Vivendi went on to acquire stakes in or merge with Maroc Telecom, Havas, Cendant Software, Grupo Anaya, and NetHold, a large Continental European pay-TV operator. Beginning in 1998, Vivendi launched digital channels in Italy, Spain, Poland, Scandinavia, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

In June 1999, Vivendi merged with Pathé, and the exchange ratio for the merger was fixed at three Vivendi shares for every two Pathé shares. The Wall Street Journal estimated the value of the deal at US$2.59 billion. Following the completion of the merger, Vivendi retained Pathé's interests in British Sky Broadcasting Group PLC and CanalSatellite, a French broadcasting corporation, then sold all remaining assets to Jérôme Seydoux's family-owned holding company, Fornier SA, which changed its name to Pathé.

In early December 2000 Vivendi acquired Groupe Canal+, the French television network and film production company.[7] On 11 December 2000 Vivendi Universal was created from the merger of Groupe Canal+, Canadian company Seagram Company Ltd (owner of Universal Studios), and Vivendi.[8]

Vivendi Universal acquired and the leading American publisher Houghton Mifflin in the year 2001. To raise the funds, Vivendi Universal sold its trade and medical publishing businesses to a group led by Cinven.[9][10]

Vivendi Environnement

Vivendi Environnement was formed in 1999 by Vivendi to consolidate its environmental divisions, which were CGEA Transport, Onyx Environnement (now Veolia Environmental Services), Dalkia and CGE water division. As a result, CGEA Transport was renamed Connex (later Veolia Transport), and CGE's water division was renamed Vivendi Water (now Veolia Water).[5] In July 2000, Vivendi Environnement was divested through IPOs in Paris and later New York in October 2001. Initially, Vivendi Universal retained a 70% stake in Vivendi Environnement in 2000, but by December 2002, it was reduced to 20.4%.[11] In 2003, Vivendi Environnement was renamed to Veolia Environnement.

Corporate loss

Vivendi Universal disclosed a corporate loss of €23.3 billion in its 2002 annual report. It responded with financial reshuffling, trying to shore up media holdings while selling off shares in its spin-off companies. Amid intense media scrutiny, its chairman and CEO, Jean-Marie Messier (who had overseen the most dramatic phase of the company's diversification), was subsequently replaced by Jean-René Fourtou. Messier was found guilty of embezzlement in 2011, but not before he was paid over US$20 million as part of his severance package. The company reduced its stake in Vivendi Environnement to 40% and sold its stake in Vinci SA. The company then began reorganizing to stave off bankruptcy, announcing a strategy to sell non-strategic assets. Its largest single shareholder was the family of Edgar Bronfman Jr., who was head of Seagram at the time of the merger. Vivendi sold its stake in Vizzavi to Vodafone, with the exception of Vizzavi France. It also sold 20.4% of Vivendi Environnement's capital to a group of investors, and its stake in North American satellite operator EchoStar Communications Corporation. It also sold its European book publishing to Lagardère.[12] It also sold Houghton Mifflin to Thomas H Lee, Blackstone and Bain consortium for US$1.66 billion.[13] Also, in 2002, Vivendi Universal sold the Belgian and Dutch activities of its subsidiary Scoot Europe to Kapitol, the parent company of online directory Infobel.[14]

In 2003, Vivendi Universal sold Canal+ Technologies to Thomson SA; Tele+ to News Corporation and Telecom Italia. It also sold its 26.3% interest in Xfera. Also in 2003, it sold its consumer magazines to Socpresse and its free newspapers to France Antilles.[15] On 1 December, Vivendi Universal closed a deal to sell to CNET. Despite predictions that it would be unable to raise the cash needed, Vivendi Universal bought out one of the two minority shareholders in Cegetel, taking its holding to 60 percent, with Vodafone holding the remaining 40 percent. Management viewed the mobile communications firm as a core asset once the bulk of media assets had been sold off.

Further acquisitions, mergers and divestments

In 2004, 80% of the Vivendi Universal subsidiary was sold to GE, to form NBC Universal, with Vivendi retaining a 20 percent stake. At the same time, it sold a 50% stake in Canal+ and StudioCanal to the new company. Vivendi also sold its interests in Kencell (re-branded Celtel, Kenya), Monaco Telecom and Sportfive (which it held through Canal+ Group), and sold Newsworld International to the business partnership of Joel Hyatt and former Vice-President of the United States Al Gore. Vivendi also sold Babelsberg Studio.

On 16 December 2005, it was announced that Canal Plus would merge with TPS, France's second largest Pay-TV provider. Vivendi owned 85% of the combined entity.[needs update]

On 17 January 2006, Vivendi Universal announced it would end its American Depositary Receipt program and its listing on the New York Stock Exchange by the end of the second quarter of 2006, due to lowered trading volume on its shares and high costs.[16] On 20 April, Vivendi in its current form came into existence, following the sale of an 80% stake in the Vivendi Universal unit to General Electric to form NBC Universal (merging GE's NBC unit and Vivendi's Vivendi Universal unit) and the gradual recovery of the company from its disastrous over-expansion in the late 1990s and the early 2000s. The company announced that shareholders had approved the name change to "Vivendi".[citation needed] In August, Vivendi signed a deal with Spiralfrog to distribute Vivendi's songs online in the United States and Canada.[citation needed]

On 2 December 2007, Vivendi announced that it would be merging its game publishing unit with Activision in a $18.8 billion deal.[17][18] This will allow the merged company, Activision Blizzard, to rival Electronic Arts, the world's biggest video games publisher.[18] The merger closed on 9 July 2008, for $9.8 billion. Vivendi held a 52% majority stake in the new business.

On 8 September 2009, Vivendi announced negotiations to buy the Brazilian phone operator Global Village Telecom (GVT).[19] Vivendi took control of GVT at a cost of 56 reais per share, on 13 November, trumping Telefónica's bid.[20] Geneva-based Crédit des Alpes was the investment bank to the transaction, originating the acquisition proposal and advising GVT's majority shareholders.[21]

On 3 December 2009, GE announced it would purchase Vivendi's stake in NBC Universal, which would become a joint venture between GE and Comcast.[22] Vivendi sold its stake in NBC Universal on 25 January 2011.

On 4 April 2011, Vodafone sold its 44% stake in French mobile service provider SFR to Vivendi for about $11 billion[23] and giving Vivendi full control of its largest unit.[24]

In 2012, Vivendi announced having entered a strategic review of its assets and decided to refocus its activities on media and content activities while maximizing its telecoms assets.[citation needed]

On 25 July 2013, Activision Blizzard announced the buyout of 429 million shares from Vivendi for $5.83 billion, dropping the shareholder from a 63% stake to 11.8% by the end of the deal in September, ending Vivendi's majority ownership of Activision Blizzard.[citation needed] In November, Vivendi also sold its 53% stake in Maroc Telecom to Dubai-based Etisalat for around $4.2 billion.[25] Vivendi also confirmed in November 2013 its intention to launch a demerger plan which would result in Vivendi becoming an international media group consisting primarily of Canal+, Universal Music Group, and GVT, while SFR would be listed separately on the stock market. As a result of the foregoing, Vivendi group results for the first semester 2014 are in a strong growth, witnessing the success of its repositioning strategy. Net income was up 84,8% to €1.9 billion.[26] In August 2014 Vivendi sells GVT to Telefônica Vivo, a subsidiary of Telefónica in Brazil.

The moves have allowed Vivendi to rapidly pay down debt and increase cash returns to shareholders while leaving it with ammunition to do acquisitions of its own. Indeed, once the SFR deal closes, Vivendi will have a cash pile of around €5 billion, leaving it with some room to maneuver even after it pays down debt and returns nearly €5 billion in dividends and share buybacks to shareholders.[27]

Vivendi's priority is now content. The French group is expected to expand its assets in the content industries in the coming year.[28]

In 2014, Vivendi decided to sell mobile companies SFR (France) to Patrick Drahi's company, Altice,[29] and GVT (Brazil) to the Brazilian company Telefônica Vivo.[30] On 28 May, Vivendi sold half of its remaining shares (nearly 41.5 million shares) in Activision Blizzard for $850 million, reducing its stake to 6%.[31]

In April 2015, it was announced that a shareholder in the company Bolloré raised its stake from 10.2 percent to 12.01 percent for a total fee of €568 million.[32] In 2015, Vivendi bought 80% share in Dailymotion.[33] According to the Wall Street Journal, the "French media group offered around $273 million for streaming service".[34] Vivendi was in talks with Orange, to Buy 80% stake in Dailymotion. Also, Vivendi announced extra payouts in compromise with P. Schoenfeld Asset Management shareholder.[35] It was revealed in October 2015 that Vivendi would increase its stake in Telecom Italia to around 19% of the ordinary share capital as part of its aims to increase its influence in the group.[36][37] As of May 2017, Vivendi owns 24.6% of the company with Vivendi's CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine becoming Executive Chairman of Telecom Italia.[38] In October, Vivendi bought minority stakes in the French video game studios Gameloft and Ubisoft.[39] On 17 December 2015, Vivendi acquired a 64.4% majority stake in Belgian online radio aggregator Radionomy (including its media player platform Winamp and internet radio streaming software Shoutcast). Its shareholders, including its employees and U.S.-based investment firm Union Square Ventures, however, retained their stakes in the company.[40]

In June 2016, after having triggered a mandatory tender offer in February 2016 by reaching 30% ownership, and then becoming its largest shareholder, Vivendi completed a hostile takeover of Gameloft with the acquisition of its founders' stake. At the same time, Vivendi also further increased its stake in Ubisoft, which had led to concern from the company's management that Vivendi was also planning a hostile takeover of Ubisoft, however as of 2018 Vivendi is no longer in the position to do so.[41][42][43] Vivendi (once the owner of Blizzard, later Activision Blizzard),[44] searching for a new games publisher property has started investing in both Ubisoft and Gameloft.[45] The brothers in charge of Ubisoft and Gameloft, Yves Guillemot and Michel Guillemot[46] respectively, view the investments as a hostile takeover attempt,[47][48] and are raising capital from within the family[49] and from Canadian investors[50] to maintain control of the companies. As of 8 June 2016, Vivendi has acquired a controlling stake in Gameloft. In news from 11 September 2016 Yves Guillemot is set to buy an additional 3.5% of Ubisoft shares to raise his stake to 12.5% to attempt to block a takeover from Vivendi. Yves has been attempting to lobby other shareholders to prevent them from selling their shares to Vivendi.[51] As of 20 March 2018, Vivendi has sold all its shares in Ubisoft and Tencent has bought in in their place.[52] In an auction on 6 June, Vivendi won a bid to acquire Flavorus from SFX Entertainment for $4 million.[53] Also that month, it acquired Paddington and Company Limited-owner of Paddington Bear and other properties, and The Copyrights Group. Vivendi declared that it owned 12.3% of Mediaset in December 2016.[54] In September 2020, Vivendi owns 28.8% of Mediaset.[55] In January 2019, Vivendi completed its €900 million acquisition of Editis, one of France's major book publishers.[56]

In 2019, Vivendi acquired Nigeria's film studio ROK Studios which included its linear channels and VOD service, IROKO+.[57]

At the end of the first quarter of 2020, Vivendi completed a partial sale of Universal Music Group (UMG) to a consortium led by Tencent, a Chinese media conglomerate. The amount of stake of the world's largest record label group that has been sold to the consortium is 10% and the valuation of which was $3.3 billion. The Tencent-led consortium retained an option to purchase another 10% at the same valuation until January 2021, which they opted to exercise in December 2020.[58] Pershing Square Holdings later acquired 10% of UMG prior to its IPO on the Euronext Amsterdam stock exchange. The company went public on 21 September 2021, at a valuation of €46 billion.[59][60] In April, Vivendi bought a 10.6% stake in Lagardère Group, another French media group, the assets of which include the world's third-largest book publisher Hachette.[61] By August 2020, Vivendi had doubled its stake in Lagardère to 23.5%, becoming the largest shareholder of the rival group.[62] In October, Vivendi acquired a 12% stake in South Africa's media company, MultiChoice.[63] In December, Vivendi announced a deal to buy the French media conglomerate Prisma Media from Bertelsmann.[64] In January 2021, Vivendi bought a 9.9% stake in the Spanish media conglomerate Prisa.[65][66]

In September 2021, Vivendi distributed 60% of its UMG shares to shareholders and retained 10% of shares in an IPO at Euronext Amsterdam.[67] Amber Capital informed Vivendi of its intention to sell all its shares in Lagardère (17.93 of the share capital) and invited Vivendi to make an acquisition offer. Vivendi has acquired Amber Capital's shares for 24.1 euros per share. The transaction will be completed by December 15, 2022, after gaining the approvals required by the current regulations in light of the takeover that could result from the mandatory public offer following this acquisition.[68] In December 2021, Vivendi announced its plan to accelerate the purchase of Amber's stake in Lagardere.[69] As of June 2022, Vivendi owns 57.3% of Lagardère following the latter's IPO.[70] Vivendi offered to divest the book publisher Editis, as Lagardère already owns Hachette.[71]

In July 2022, Vivendi announced its plan to spin off Editis, anticipating the European competition regulators not to allow Editis and Lagardere Publishing to merge.[71] In June 2023, Vivendi agreed to sell Editis to Czech billionaire Daniel Křetínský's Czech Media Invest.[72] In July 2023, Vivendi announced that Prisma Media entered into exclusive negotiations with Groupe Figaro for the sale of Gala magazine.[73] The transaction for Editis was finalised in November 2023.[74]

Description and location

The official name of the company is Vivendi SE (société européenne). The headquarters are located at 42 Avenue Friedland, 75008 Paris.[75]

Corporate governance

As of 31 December 2019, Vivendi ownership is as follows:[76]

Supervisory board

As of 16 May 2020, the board is comprised as follows:[77]

  • Yannick Bolloré (chairman); also CEO of Havas, which was spun off from Vivendi in 2000 but has since become a subsidiary[78]
  • Philippe Bénacin, chairman and CEO of Interparfums
  • Cyrille Bolloré, former chairman and CEO of Bolloré
  • Paulo Cardoso, treasurer of Canal+
  • Laurent Dassault, co-managing director of Dassault Group
  • Sébastien Bolloré
  • Véronique Driot-Argentin, Vivendi HR executive
  • Aliza Jabès, chairwoman of NUXE
  • Cathia Lawson-Hall, executive at Société Générale
  • Sandrine Le Bihan, Vivendi legal executive
  • Michèle Reiser, filmmaker and culture commissioner
  • Katie Stanton, general partner of Moxxie Ventures
  • Athina Vasilogiannaki, legal and business affairs director of Minos EMI

Business units

Vivendi is a company primarily focused on digital entertainment. It owns the French TV channel and movie producer Canal+ Group, communication company Havas Group, video games company Gameloft, and video hosting service Dailymotion.

Vivendi's president Vincent Bolloré, appointed in June 2014, aims at developing synergies between the company's subsidiaries now refocused on media: Canal+ Group, Vivendi Village, Dailymotion, and Gameloft.[79]

Groupe Canal+

Groupe Canal+ is the leading pay television group in France. It is also an international movie and television series producer and distributor with StudioCanal.[80] In November 2013, Vivendi became the exclusive owner of France's biggest pay-TV company.[81]


Havas is one of the largest global advertising and communications groups in the world.[82] Since October 2017, Vivendi owns 94.75% of Havas's Share Capital.[83]


In July 2016, Vivendi completed its takeover of Gameloft,[84] the world's largest mobile-games publisher in terms of downloads. Gameloft reported that their games had amassed over 1 billion downloads in 2016.[85]

Vivendi Village

Vivendi Village comprises a group of small companies active in digital and in live entertainment.[86]

Vivendi Ticketing comprises the ticketing businesses See Tickets in the UK, the US, and in France. Both businesses specialize in the retail and distribution of tickets for live entertainment, sport and cultural events, in addition to providing operating platforms for venues to run their own ticketing services. Vivendi Ticketing processes annually over 40 million tickets. The business also operates as an internal service provider to other Vivendi businesses.

MyBestPro provides experts counseling in different fields (Wengo, RDVmedicaux, Juritravail, Bordas, Devispresto).

Vivendi Village also owns the Paris-based concert venue L'Olympia and the Théâtre de l'Oeuvre.[87]

In 2015, Vivendi announced that it will open venues in central and west Africa. These venues will be named CanalOlympia, they will serve as concert halls, theaters and screening rooms.[88]

Prisma Media

In 2021, Vivendi purchased Prisma Media from Gruner + Jahr for an estimated 100 to 150 million euros.[89]

Prisma Media is number one magazine publishing group in France.[90]


In 2015, Vivendi purchased an 80% stake in Dailymotion from its previous owner, Orange S.A.[91]

Vivendi announced that it increased this stake to 90% in September 2015.[92]

Equity investments


In July 2024, Vivendi was alleged by Reporters Without Borders (RWB) to have been involved in a disinformation campaign against RWB.[93] On 13 February 2024, in response to a request lodged by RWB, the Conseil d'État ordered CNews, part of the Vivendi group, to better respect journalistic standards and diversity. The February order by the Conseil d'État was followed by an intense disinformation campaign of hate speech against RWB. In July 2024, RWB published the results of its investigation into the disinformation campaign. Its findings included a fake website pretending to be run by RWB hosted on a server hosting "Fan de CNews", a fansite supporting CNews. The website was run by what RWB states is a disinformation agency called Progressif Media, hosted at Vivendi. The main investigator, Arnaud Froger, stated that Progressif Media used "counterfeiting, concealment, cybersquatting [and] trolling" as disinformation techniques against RWB.[93]

See also


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