French conglom reports modest growth in Q1

French conglom Vivendi reported modest growth in the first quarter as a very tough comparison for its vidgame biz dragged down overall financial perf.

Total revenue was up 5%, or 7% in constant currency exchange rates, to e5.3 billion ($8.2 billion). Net income fell 10% to $1.1 billion.

Vivendi Games unit saw revenue fall 24%, or 18% in constant currency, after releasing an expansion pack to the hugely successful “World of Warcraft” in January 2007. No comparable games were released this winter.

Blizzard label, which publishes “Warcraft,” continues to provide the vast majority of the unit’s earnings, bringing in $297 million out of a total $342 million, primarily from “Warcraft” subscriptions.

Vivendi Games will complete its merger with Activision in the next month. Vivendi will own a majority stake in the combined company, which will be publicly traded and run by current Activision execs.

Universal Music Group saw revenue rise 1%, or 6% in constant currency, to $1.55 billion. Growth was driven by a 33% jump in digital sales and last year’s acquisition of BMG’s publishing division and Sanctuary Records.

Revenue at pay TV company Canal Plus rose 5% to $1.7 billion. Conglom also saw a healthy perf from its telco units.

Vivendi received $82 million from its minority share in NBC Universal, down 18%. It attributed the drop to the weakening U.S. dollar and a declining perf at NBC U.

Vivendi said it expects growth to continue at roughly the current pace throughout 2008.

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