--Vivendi's 1Q revenue increased as Universal Music and Editis supported overall growth

--The company expects to complete Universal Music distribution plan in fall 2021

--It says it is difficult at this time to determine how the pandemic will affect 2021 results


By Mauro Orru


Vivendi SE said Thursday that revenue for the first quarter increased as its main business Universal Music Group recorded strong growth in subscription and streaming, while the Editis business also posted a marked improvement in revenue.

The French media giant steered by billionaire Vincent Bollore said revenue for the quarter rose to 3.90 billion euros ($4.69 billion) from EUR3.87 billion in the first quarter of 2020.

The result represents an increase of 5% on an organic basis.

Revenue at Universal Music climbed to EUR1.81 billion from EUR1.77 billion, up 9.4% organically.

The record label that works with Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift posted organic growth of 19.6% in subscription and streaming revenues, while physical sales rose 14.8%.

New releases from King & Prince and Justin Bieber and continued sales from the Weeknd, Ariana Grande and Pop Smoke were among recorded music best-sellers for the quarter, the company said.

Vivendi has an 80% stake in Universal Music and is planning to hand 60% to shareholders in a special distribution at a minimum target of EUR30 billion for the company's enterprise value.

The company said it would ask shareholders in June to express their views on the distribution plan, which it expects to complete in fall 2021.

The spinoff would come at a fitting time for the record label, as streaming services have benefited from consumers spending more time listening to music amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Vivendi's Editis business posted revenue of EUR163 million compared with EUR116 million the previous year, marking a 40.1% jump.

The company said general literature and diffusion and distribution sales had an "outstanding" performance, with several titles topping bestseller charts and nine titles in the GFK Top 20 for large-format literature.

"Vivendi continually monitors the current and potential consequences of the crisis. It is difficult at this time to determine how it will impact Vivendi's results in 2021. Businesses related to live performance have a risk of being more impacted than others. Nevertheless, the group remains confident in the resilience of its main businesses," the company said.


Write to Mauro Orru at mauro.orru@wsj.com; @MauroOrru94


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 22, 2021 13:03 ET (17:03 GMT)

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