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Call of Duty helps Vivendi advance despite weakness in French sector

Growth in video games and in Brazil helped the telecoms and entertainment giant Vivendi post first-half profits in line with expectations yesterday, despite weakness in its key French telecoms business.

The first-half results, with underlying profits up 3.7 per cent at €3.36bn (£2.9bn) on revenues of €14.3bn, continued to show the diverging prospects for Vivendi's various businesses with growth coming from Activision Blizzard's video games such as Call of Duty and World of Warcraft and Brazilian telecom firm GVT.

After buying out Vodafone's 44 per cent in SFR to take full ownership of France's second-biggest telecoms operator, Vivendi now has a wider exposure to France just as competition in the market heats up. The company is embroiled in price wars with rivals such as Bouygues Telecom and France Telecom and is facing the entry of new mobile operator Iliad.

Meanwhile, profits are slipping at Vivendi's Moroccan telecom and music businesses, as well at SFR, which is being forced to spend more to woo and keep customers.