UMG’s EBITA of $865 million was up 11.6% at constant currency year over year.


Doug Morris’ Empire Keeps On Keepin’ On,
Even in the Worst of Times
Vivendi has issued its full-year earnings report for fiscal 2008, and it reveals that Universal Music Group revenues were virtually flat at €4,650 million, or $5864 million. That represents just a 0.2% decline at constant currency (though a 4.5% decline in actual currency).

The best news is that UMG’s EBITA of €686 million ($865 million) was up 11.6% at constant currency (+9.9% in actual currency) year over year, reflecting continued effective cost management, the consolidation of BMG Music Publishing in the full-year results, and higher license income, including copyright settlements. EBITA includes €53 million ($68 million) of restructuring costs (compared to €67 million, or $84 million, in 2007), including costs associated with the integration of acquisitions and the rationalization of the recorded music division.

Revenues increased in at Universal Music Group Publishing and Bravado merchandising following the 2007 acquisitions of BMG Music Publishing and Sanctuary, respectively, making up for the inevitable falloff in recorded music: a 4.8% decrease at constant currency (an 8.8% decline in actual currency). Also inevitably, digital sales grew 37% at constant currency, driven by strong online growth in all major territories, and higher mobile sales outside of North America, which continues to lag in that growth area.

Mirroring the U.S., global bestsellers included Lil Wayne, Jack Johnson, Duffy and the Mamma Mia! soundtrack, along with carryover 2007 hits from Amy Winehouse and Rihanna.