Vivendi Universal is a company with various activities :
- Canal+ : television
- Cegetel : Fixed and mobile phone
- Maroc Telecom
- mp3.com : online music
- Vivendi Environnement
In 1853, a water company named "Compagnie Générale des Eaux" (CGE) was created by Imperial decree in order supply water to the public in Lyon. It served in this capacity for over a hundred years. Beginning in 1980, CGE began diversifying its operations from water into waste management, energy, transport services, and construction and property.
In 1998, the company changed its name to Vivendi, and sold off its property and construction divisions the following year.
In 1996, Vivendi created Cegetel to take advantage of the 1998 deregulation of the French telecommunications market; it is currently a leading provider of both fixed and mobile services. Vivendi's CanalSatellite is the first digital television network available in France.
Vivendi went on to acquire stakes in or merge with Maroc Telecom, Havas, Cendant Software, Anaya, and NetHold, a large Continental European pay-TV operator. Beginning in 1998, Vivendi launches digital channels in Italy, Spain, Poland, Scandinavia, Belgium, and the Netherlands.
In July 2000, the company spun off the remaining water and waste companies into Vivendi Environnement. In September, Vivendi was listed on the New York Stock Exchange (as "V"). Finally, in December, it announced a major merger with Canal+ and with Seagram, the owner of Universal Studios film company. At that point the company was renamed -- see Vivendi Universal for further company details.
- Corporate loss of 23.3 billion euros: the worst loss for a French company.
- Net debt of 12.3 billion euros
- Vivendi will sell assets for 7 billons euros in 2003