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Vivendi Games results decline as bidders line up

First quarter results from Vivendi Universal reveal a slide in revenues and increased operating losses - but the future of the division is set to become clearer shortly, with the company planning to collect acquisition bids officially on June 23rd.

First quarter results from Vivendi Universal reveal a slide in revenues and increased operating losses - but the future of the division is set to become clearer shortly, with the company planning to collect acquisition bids officially on June 23rd.

The games division witnessed a 15 per cent drop in revenues to â'¬106 million, while an operating loss of â'¬24 million was recorded - a significant jump over the â'¬1 million operating loss recorded in the same period last year.

Overall revenues for the Vivendi Universal conglomerate as a whole were also down, dropping four per cent to â'¬6.23 billion, and a net loss of â'¬319 million was reported, which is a major improvement over last year's â'¬815 million loss.

Vivendi Games blamed its decline in revenues on the decline of the US dollar on the financial markets, and also pointed the finger at "declining markets for both GameCube games and educational software". Poor timing of spending on R&D and marketing was also mentioned.

The future of Vivendi Games, and of the Vivendi entertainment assets as a whole, is expected to become clearer later this month when the company collects official bids for the various businesses. This will take place on June 23rd, and up to six bidders are expected to make formal offers.

"Some investors are interested in the whole thing, including music, and some are only interested in Vivendi Universal Entertainment or part of VUE. Some are only interested in games," explained Vivendi CFO Jacques Espinasse.

Among the bidders lining up are Edgar Bronfman Jr., who expressed an interest in acquiring the entertainment assets last week, along with Viacom, Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer, Liberty Media, and oil tycoon Marvin Davis. Possible bidders from the world of games include Take 2, who expressed a strong interest in the games division last month, and Microsoft, who were known to be sniffing around Vivendi earlier this year but are now generally thought to have pulled out of acquisition discussions.

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Rob Fahey avatar
Rob Fahey: Rob Fahey is a former editor of GamesIndustry.biz who spent several years living in Japan and probably still has a mint condition Dreamcast Samba de Amigo set.
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