Vivendi storms markets with all guns blazing

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The Independent Online

French group Vivendi beat profit expectations in the third quarter, largely thanks to its computer game operation.

Vivendi owns about 60 per cent of Activision Blizzard, the developer behind Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, which sold a record $400m (£253m) worth of games on its opening day in the US and the UK. Call of Duty did not feature in the results as the launch came after the close, but Vivendi's adjusted net profit was €685m (£434m), beating consensus forecasts of €557m.

The group said games including Skylanders: Spyro's Adventures had helped to bolster its results as underlying earnings rose 38 per cent. Vivendi, which last week bought EMI's recorded music division in a £1.2bn deal, sold a 3 per cent stake in Activision for $427m.

After Call of Duty's launch the division raised its full-year outlook, predicting that earnings would hit €850m. Vivendi also pointed to a strong performance from its Brazilian operation GVT, which grew by almost half to more than €1bn during the first nine months of the year. On the downside, Vivendi said it would be hit by new tax rules in France to the tune of €350m in 2011.