In an earnings report released by parent company Vivendi today, the Lucian Grainge-helmed Universal Music Group clocked total annual revenues of approximately $7.15 billion, a 10% increase at constant currency over 2017. The company continues to be a primary driver of Vivendi’s revenue: “For the second half of 2018, at constant currency and perimeter, Vivendi’s revenues increased by 5.7% compared to the second half of 2017, an improvement compared to the first half of 2018 (+3.9% compared to the first half of 2017), mainly driven by Universal Music Group (+12.8% for the second half, compared to +6.8% for the first half),” the report reads.
The company’s EBITA for 2018 was around $1.07 billion, up 22.1% over the previous year.
Music publishing revenues grew by 14.5% at constant currency and perimeter, the report said, driven by increased subscription and streaming revenues, as well as higher revenues generated from performance rights and synchronization. Merchandising and other revenues decreased by 1.5%, due to lower touring activity. Driven by the growth in revenues, UMG’s income from operations amounted to $1.7 billion, up 22.1% at constant currency and perimeter compared to 2017. The report noted that Taylor Swift, the Rolling Stones and Elton John all signed or re-signed major deals with the company that touch many different aspects of their careers.
In the report, the company also said that its plan to sell up to 50% of UMG’s share capital to one or more strategic partners is “moving forward.” It notes that corporate structure reorganization was completed at the end of 2018, that the due diligence was launched at the beginning of this year and meetings were held with pre-selected banks. The final selection of the financial advisors that will assist Vivendi in finding the best partners for UMG should be completed in the coming weeks. As previously announced, a floor price will be set for the entry of partners into UMG’s share capital.
Best-sellers for the recorded-music division include titles by Drake, Post Malone, The Beatles and XXXTentacion, as well as the soundtrack from “A Star is Born.”