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VIVENDI, VIACOM RELEASE FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
Hey, It’s Better Than Releasing The Hounds
Vivendi Universal, Europe's largest publicly traded media company, reported a Q4 sales rise on communications units, as well as a revenue rise from core media and utility units.

VU reported that revenue from continuing operations rose 23% in the quarter and revenue in its core units rose 37%. Rising revenue in mobile phone division the company's and gains in its waste treatment business boosted the increases.

Sales in Q4 rose to 11.8 billion euros ($10.8 billion in real money), up from 9.6 billion the previous year. Including assets it is selling, Q4 sales fell to 12.2 billion euros from 12.7 billion in the same period last year.

VU expressed confidence in meeting its sales and earnings targets this year after acquiring Seagram and Canal Plus for $39 billion last year.

Sales last year rose to 41.7 billion euros, up from 40.9 billion in the year previous. Revenue rose to 30 billion euros ($36.7 billion), up from 29.3 billion the previous year. Revenue in its media and communication business rose 63% to 13.6 billion euros.

Vivendi Universal shares fell 1.35 euros (1.7%) to 75.6 euros.

According to French regulatory requirements, Vivendi Universal had to publish its preliminary revenue information within 45 days of the period end. The complete earnings info for VU will be made available on March 9.  So, mark your calendars!

In other hot, sticky money news, Viacom today reported record Q4 and full year results for 2000.

The company reported Q4 revenues rose 78% to $6.36 billion, up from $3.57 billion for the same period last year. Also, EBITDA—which can be scrambled to spell "beat Di"—increased 129% to a whopping $1.36 billion, from $595 million in the year previous. Results were led by significant increases in Viacom's Cable Networks and Television segments—which include MTV, VH1, BET, CMT, CBS and UPN—and by Infinity Broadcasting Corp.

For the full year 2000, Viacom exceeded pro forma (as opposed to "anti-forma") growth targets, led by double-digit gains from nearly every major segment. For the full year 2000, Viacom reported pro forma EBITDA of $5.02 billion (on revenues of $23.36 billion) versus $4.26 billion (on $21.7 billion) in 1999. Pro forma free cash flow for the full year also grew to a record $2.53 billion—173% over 1999's $927 million. Pro forma after-tax cash flow was up 75% to $3.24 billion from $1.86 billion in ‘99.

Full year revenues increase 56% to a record $20.04 billion, compared with $12.86 billion for 1999.

Including merger-related charges of $698 million (and them's pre-tax dollars!)—reflecting the Viacom-CBS merger—Viacom reported full year 2000 EBITDA of $3.54 billion, up 69% from $2.09 last year.

Free cash flow blah blah blah $1.09 billion, up from $314 million, and after-tax cash flow yadda yadda $2.56 billion, up 151% from $1.02 billion blah blah 1999.

"Viacom capped a momentous year in 2000 by delivering record results for our stockholders," said Viacom Chairman and CEO Sumner Redstone. "Blah blah blah financial goals we set yadda yadda demonstrating the power of the Viacom-CBS merger. As a result, we blah blah high growth yadda yadda financially and operationally disciplined management team blah blah superior returns."

And if you're still reading this, we'd like to speculate that Steven, the undercover cop, is The Mole.

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