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Vivendi Universal is a company with various activities :

  • Canal+ : television
  • Cegetel : Fixed and mobile phone
  • Maroc Telecom
  • mp3.com : online music
  • Vivendi Environnement


In 1853, a water company named "Compagnie Générale des Eaux" (CGE) was created by Imperial decree in order supply water to the public in Lyon. It served in this capacity for over a hundred years. Beginning in 1980, CGE began diversifying its operations from water into waste management, energy, transport services, and construction and property.

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.

In 1998, the company changed its name to Vivendi, and sold off its property and construction divisions the following year.

In 1996, Vivendi created Cegetel[?] to take advantage of the 1998 deregulation of the French telecommunications market; it is currently a leading provider of both fixed and mobile services. Vivendi's CanalSatellite[?] is the first digital television network available in France.

Vivendi went on to acquire stakes in or merge with Maroc Telecom[?], Havas[?], Cendant Software[?], Anaya[?], and NetHold[?], a large Continental European pay-TV operator. Beginning in 1998, Vivendi launches digital channels in Italy, Spain, Poland, Scandinavia, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

In July 2000, the company spun off the remaining water and waste companies into Vivendi Environnement[?]. In September, Vivendi was listed on the New York Stock Exchange (as "V"). Finally, in December, it announced a major merger with [[Canal+]] and with Seagram, the owner of Universal Studios film company. At that point the company was renamed -- see Vivendi Universal for further company details.

Jean-Rene Fourtou[?] succeded to Jean-Marie Messier[?] as CEO in 2002.

On 6 March 2003, Vivendi disclodsed its annual report (term ended at December 31,2002), that is downloadable in pdf format on its site.

  • Corporate loss of 23.3 billion euros: the worst loss for a French company.
  • Net debt of 12.3 billion euros
  • Vivendi will sell assets for 7 billons euros in 2003

See also: List of French companies

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