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"Through the formation of Vivendi Universal Net USA, we'll be able to offer a centralized technological infrastructure for our various content businesses — music, film, games and education — to create new and lasting one-on-one relationships with our customers."
——Robin Richards
MEET VIVENDI UNIVERSAL NET USA
Robin Richards to Head Division Consolidating VU Web Holdings
Promising "even more synergistic relationships between our businesses"—and we're all ready for more synergistic relationships, aren't we?—Vivendi Universal has announced the formation of Vivendi Universal Net USA, a Los Angeles-based unit consolidating the media giant's music, gaming and educational online sites under one roof.

MP3.com CEO Robin Richards has been tapped to head the new entity; he'll report to VU Net CEO Philippe Germond, who's responsible for the above quote about synergistic relationships.

The sites under the new division's bailiwick include MP3.com, Emusic.com, GetMusic.com, RollingStone.com, recently unveiled educational site Inside Sessions, Flipside, Uproar, Iwin, Virtual Vegas, the "child and parent areas" of Education.com (though the eerie "custodian area" is now known as hitsdailydouble.com) and an MP4 video site.

The announcement comes on the heels of MP3.com's split into two companies (see story, 10/19), its flagship operation and the new MP3 Technologies, which will, among other things, oversee the tech for the VU-Sony subscription-music joint venture Pressplay. VU Net USA will ostensibly be able to provide such services for VU's other content businesses.

And if you think placing all these properties under one corporate shingle is a sweet deal for VU advertising, you're right. In much the way AOLTW has turned its integration of content divisions and online properties into gigantic ad deals, VU clearly has the opportunity to reap huge benefits from its recent agglomeration.

"I am very excited about the prospects that this new company will create for Vivendi Universal and all of its business units," Richards proclaimed. "Through the formation of Vivendi Universal Net USA, we'll be able to offer a centralized technological infrastructure for our various content businesses—music, film, games and education—to create new and lasting one-on-one relationships with our customers. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a date with a French phrasebook."

Germond declares that with the new U.S. unit, "we significantly enhance our potential of bringing world-class content from our business units into close alignment with our Internet organization. And did I mention synergy? Oy, will there be synergy."

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