Biz Briefs

Mar 10, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Huge Vivendi Universal Loss
Vivendi Universal has announced a loss of $25.6 billion, or 23.3 billion euros, the largest-ever annual corporate loss in French history, after higher-than-expected write-downs.
The net loss, which was weighed by a hefty 18.4 billion euros in charges, exceeded analysts’ consensus forecast of 13.1 billion euros. Vivendi officials reiterated their intention to sell $16 billion in assets by the end of 2004, $7 billion is which will be announced or completed this year.
As part of a disposal drive, Vivendi said it was examining all options for its U.S. entertainment assets after being approached by various potential buyers. Vivendi chief executive Jean-Rene Fourtou said he had met the head of U.S. media giant Viacom but was also talking to other interested companies, which include General Electric’s NBC, John Malone’s Liberty Media Corp. and MGM. However, executives at the companies, such as Viacom, said they are interested only in VUE’s Sci-Fi and USA cable networks and not in other VUE assets, such as Universal Studios.
Iger Bullish on Ad Spends
Walt Disney Co. President Bob Iger said advertising at the company’s radio and television units, which include ABC and ESPN, was still going strong, despite a recent weakening in some category spends.
“We’ve seen actually from the beginning of this year a relatively strong advertising marketplace, and that’s had a positive impact on all our media networks, and that trend continues,” he said on recent company conference call, referring to Disney’s financial year that began Oct. 1.
National and local television as well as radio had been strong he said, adding, “It slowed a little bit in the recent past, but it has still been a good fiscal year.”