Vivendi buys MP3.com for $375m
Didn't it sue it just last year?
By Kieren McCarthy • In e-Business • At 09:55 GMT 21st May 2001
The French media giant Vivendi Universal will pay $372 million (£259 million) for online music site MP3.com. Which is kinda ironic, seeing as it was the only one of five record companies that refused to settle with the company last year over copyright violation. It got $53.4 million. To the victor goes the spoils.
Vivendi - which owns Universal (music and films) and a majority share in TV company Canal, among many many others - wants the company so it can create a subscription service for the 40 million or so users it now has access to thanks to some aquisitioning. And as a bonus, it shuts down one the last remaining independent MP3 brands.
Chairman and CEO of MP3.com put a brave face on it. "This groundbreaking merger is a defining moment in the digital music era," he said. "It brings together industry leading technology, brands, distribution and content. We will continue with our current MP3.com pursuits" etc etc. "We believe consumers will see the full promise of digital music come to fruition and that transaction is in the best interest of our shareholders." That much is true, shareholders will be happy. Believers in the MP3 dream will not.
The Vivendi chairman and CEO Jean-Marie Messier said: "The MP3.com strategic acquisition is a big step forward for Vivendi Universal's priority to develop and implement an aggressive, legitimate and attractive offering of our content to consumers." And then went on to bore us to death about corporate goals (slots in with the company's joint venture with Sony, Duet) and making huge amounts of money.
MP3.com must be the most-sued online company in existence. All the big five music record companies had a pop, then Tom Waits and other artists demanded $40 million, Paul McCartney wasn't impressed. Nor was EMusic (now also owned by Vivendi). It goes on and on.
Vivendi won't issue any new shares. ®
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