Vivendi revenue rises 6.4%

Activision Blizzard up 9.6%; Universal Music Group up 2%

European entertainment giant Vivendi’s revenues rose 6.4% to €28.9 billion ($40 billion) in 2010, driven by its Activision-Blizzard gaming arm and telco interests.

Annual results reported Tuesday show profits up 4.4% to $3.7 billion.

Activision Blizzard notched up revenues of $4.6 billion, up 9.6%, thanks to titles such as “Call of Duty” and “World of Warcraft.”

Revenues at recently acquired Brazilian phone and Internet business GVT skyrocketed 71.2% to $1.4 billion in 2010 as the business expanded into 13 Brazilian cities.

Business in the tougher music market is also rallying, with Vivendi’s Universal Music Group, home to acts including Lady Gaga, Rihanna and U2, reporting revenues of $6.1 billion, up 2% on 2009.

Favorable currency movements plus growth in digital sales and merchandising off-set declining physical product sales and slightly lower music publishing activity. Digital sales increased 13.8% year-on-year.

On-going rationalization at UMG is expected to result in savings of $138 million globally by the end of 2011.

Talking to the press, Vivendi topper Jean-Bernard Levy refused to comment on whether Universal would bid for Warner Music or EMI.

Paybox Canal Plus reported $6.5 billion in revenue for 2010, up 3.5% on 2009. Revenue at the French part of the group was up 3.1% to $5.5 billion, driven by subscription growth, increased revenue per subscriber and higher advertising income.

Levy confirmed that Vivendi still wants to buy Lagardere’s 20% stake in Canal Plus France “at a reasonable price.” Negotiations between the two groups broke down last year, and Lagardere will put its holding on the stock exchange in the coming weeks.

The possibility of a last-minute deal was not ruled out.