UNIVERSAL MUSIC INTERNATIONAL ACQUIRES 100% OF VIVENDI UNIVERSAL NET FOR MOBILE
Company re-branded as Universal Mobile
LONDON, 14 FEBRUARY 2003 – Universal Music International (UMI) has acquired 100% of Vivendi Universal Net for Mobile, purchasing Vivendi Universal Net’s 50% stake in the company and re-branding it Universal Mobile.
The deal underlines the strategic importance of the mobile content market for Universal Music International and is the most significant commitment so far to this market by a major music company.
Universal Mobile is a producer and distributor of personalisation and entertainment services for mobile telephones, with product offerings including ringtones, logos, dedications, mailbox personalisation and multimedia messaging. It offers telecoms operators content drawn from Universal Music’s market-leading artists and music catalogue, other Vivendi Universal companies and from third parties.
The company already operates throughout Europe, supplying most of the region’s major telecoms operators in countries including France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy and Portugal.
“Our decision to take 100% control of Vivendi Universal Net for Mobile underlines our commitment to becoming a leader in the mobile telephone content-provider market and confirms our confidence in the Universal Mobile team,” noted Jorgen Larsen, Chairman and CEO of Universal Music International.
“Consumers are becoming increasingly interested in accessing music by telephone, a trend accelerated by improvements in the technology. As a result, the mobile phone not only represents an exciting medium for delivering such content, but it also enables our artists to develop an ongoing relationship with their fans through a variety of personalised services.”
Cédric Ponsot, President and CEO of Universal Mobile, said, “Entertainment and music services for mobile telephones is a rapidly developing market which still has a huge growth potential. It’s a very promising sector for Universal Music. Universal Mobile is designed to provide mobile operators and customers with strong added value, built on our top-quality content and unique marketing and promotional expertise.
“Our position is further strengthened by a series of partnerships with cutting-edge European and Japanese technology companies. Our approach to the market is radically different to that of existing players. Universal Mobile is very similar to a ‘mobile radio station,’ creating new ‘programs’ and services on a daily basis and updating these programs at regular intervals. This is a difference that has already been noticed by our European telecoms clients.”
There are estimated to be 350 million mobile phones in Europe. Young adults represent approximately 45% of this market and 70 million mobile users are in the 12-25 demographic. It is estimated that, in 2003, European consumers will buy 100 million downloads of mobile phone greetings/dedications, and 150 million downloads of ringtones.