Vivendi completes MP3.com buy

In a largely expected move, media and communications behemoth Vivendi Universal SA announced Wednesday that it completed its acquisition of renegade online music company MP3.com., just in time for the French company's scheduled foray into online music.

Vivendi's purchase of San Diego-based MP3.com, previously valued at US$372 million, was approved by 99 percent of the stockholders who voted in a special meeting held Monday, the company said.

Vivendi first announced that it would acquire MP3.com last May as part of its plan to launch its own online music subscription service, Pressplay. The two sites are intended to be affiliates, with MP3.com keeping its brand identity.

Pressplay is a joint venture between Vivendi and Sony Music Entertainment Inc., and set to launch later in the third quarter of this year, roughly at the same time rival subscription site MusicNet is scheduled to go live. MusicNet is backed by AOL Time Warner Inc., Bertelsmann AG, EMI Group PLC and RealNetworks Inc.

MP3.com, along with its clout in the online music realm, also brings with it digital-music technology which Vivendi hopes to use for its Pressplay venture.

"The acquisition of MP3.com was an extremely important step in our strategy to create both a distribution platform and acquire state-of-the art technology," Vivendi Universal Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jean-Marie Messier said in a statement.

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