Vivendi, parent company of Universal Music Group, confirmed that it plans to take UMG public in 2022. The long-expected news was announced as part of Vivendi’s third-quarter earnings report, released Tuesday.
At the top of this year, a consortium led by Chinese media giant Tencent acquired a 10% stake in UMG for $3.3 billion, with an option to acquire another 10% before mid-January of next year.
At its current rate, a healthy UMG will be going public: Despite the pandemic that has deeply damaged not just the music industry but the world economy, UMG’s overall revenues were up 5.1% for the first nine months of 2020 and up 3% for the quarter. Recorded music streaming revenue soared 22.6% and overall quarterly recorded music revenues were up by 11%. However, physical sales were down 10.2% compared to the first nine months of 2019, while download sales declined by 20.1%.
Recorded music best sellers for the first nine months of 2020 included new releases from The Weeknd, King & Prince, BTS, Justin Bieber and Lil Baby, as well as continued sales from Billie Eilish and Post Malone.
Music publishing revenues grew by 15.6% compared to the first nine months of 2019, driven by increased subscription and streaming revenues, as well as the receipt of a digital royalty claim in the second quarter of 2020.
However, largely due to the pandemic’s effect on touring and retail, merchandising and other revenues were down 42.6% compared to the first nine months of 2019.
According to the announcement, Vivendi finalized the sale of 10% of the share capital of UMG to a Tencent-led consortium based on an enterprise value of €30 billion for 100% of UMG. The consortium, which is led by Tencent and includes Tencent Music Entertainment and other financial coinvestors, has the option to acquire, on the same valuation basis, up to an additional 10% of the share capital of UMG until January 15, 2021. This transaction is complemented by a separate agreement allowing Tencent Music Entertainment to acquire a minority stake in the capital of the UMG subsidiary owning its Greater China operations.
“Following the success of this significant strategic transaction, Vivendi is pursuing its plan to sell additional minority interests in UMG with the assistance of several mandated banks. An IPO is planned for 2022,” the announcement reads. “The cash generated by these transactions may be used by Vivendi to reduce its financial debt and to finance a significant share buyback program and acquisitions.”