Vivendi Universal buying


Vivendi Universal will acquire Inc. for $372 million in cash and stock, with plans to use's technology to power Duet, its Web music alliance with Sony Corp., according to press reports.

Duet, which is slated to be operational this summer, competes against MusicNet, an online music-licensing vehicle set up by AOL Time Warner Inc., Bertelsmann AG and EMI Group PLC. MusicNet uses software from RealNetworks Inc. Vivendi's acquisition of is an ironic development, coming on the heels of a protracted copyright fight between Universal Music and MP3 six months ago.

MP3 agreed in November to pay Universal Music $53.4 million in damages and attorney fees to settle a lawsuit brought by the major music label.