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Vivendi confirms it will sell a slice of Universal Music, but not by IPO

By | Published on Tuesday 31 July 2018


Universal Music parent company Vivendi has confirmed plans to cash in on the renewed interest in music rights by selling off up to 50% of the music major, though it will do so through private deals rather than an initial public offering.

There has been speculation for some time that Vivendi would sell a slice of the Universal Music Group, which includes the Universal record companies and music publishing business, the Bravado merchandise empire, and various other what nots and thingamajigs in music, music entertainment and music partnerships.

Speculation heightened last year when Vivendi bosses started discussing a possible valuation for its music business in the wake of the streaming-fuelled resurgence of the record industry and the resulting renewed interest among investment types in owning and controlling music rights. Said Vivendi bosses subsequently confirmed that they were looking into the possibility of selling off some of Universal by listing the company on a stock exchange.

However, a possible IPO is no longer on the cards, with Vivendi yesterday announcing plans to instead sell off chunks of its music company to one or more “strategic partners”. Floating the business on a stock exchange would just be too complex, it explained.

The French firm told investors that its sale of some of Universal Music will likely begin this autumn, with the intention of having any offloading of equity completed within the next eighteen months. You know, before the steaming market crashes and the record industry is sent spiralling back into a period of doom and gloom.

The Universal Music business is a key asset of Vivendi, which also owns French TV channel and movie studio Canal+, the DailyMotion website, some ticketing and live music interests, and – as of last year – marketing and comms group Havas.