Vivendi saw its revenues climb by 11.9% to €8.2 billion ($9.7 million) during the first six months of 2021, driven by the growth of Universal Music Group (UMG), pay TV banner Canal Plus Group and advertising outfit Havas Group.
The Paris-headquartered company also saw its adjusted net income rise by 24% to €724 million ($857 million), while its net debt dropped to €2.9 billion ($3.4 billion) as of June 30, compared to €4.95 billion as of December 31, 2020.
During the first half of 2021, UMG’s revenues were up 17.3% to €3.8 billion ($4.5 billion), bolstered by recorded music revenues which grew by 20%. Subscription and streaming revenues also grew by 24.7%, while physical sales were up 40.1% compared to the first half of 2020.
BTS’ “Best Of” release, as well as new releases from Justin Bieber and Olivia Rodrigo ranked among the recorded music bestsellers for the first half year of 2021, along with continued sales from The Weeknd, Pop Smoke and Ariana Grande.
Vivendi’s financial results were also boosted by its sale of 10% of UMG’s share capital to a Tencent-led consortium — based on an enterprise value of €30 billion ($35 billion) for 100% of UMG’s share capital — at the beginning of the year. The Tencent-led consortium now owns 20% of UMG.
As previously announced, Vivendi will next be selling between 5-10% of UMG to billionaire investor Bill Ackman’s hedge fund. Ackman was initially planning to acquire 10% of UMG through his SPAC but the deal was called off after the Securities and Exchange Commission voiced concerns about the complicated agreement. Vivendi has said that if Ackman acquires under 10% of UMG, the shortfall will be sold to other investors. Vivendi is on track to distribute 60% of UMG’s share capital to Vivendi shareholders and have UMG get listed as a standalone property on Euronext Amsterdam on Sept. 21. Vivendi said it currently had a “financial flexibility of about €10 billion, including cash, liquid equity securities and significant financing resources.”
Another source of growth for Vivendi in 2021, Canal Plus Group saw its revenues rise by 4.7% to €2.7 billion ($3.2 billion) during the first six months of 2021. The group’s total subscriber portfolio (individual and collective) rose from 20.4 million to 22.1 million, and revenues from international operations increased by 4.4% thanks to the recruitment of an additional 1.4 million subscribers.
Studiocanal, the group’s film and TV production and distribution banner, saw its revenues skyrocket by 41.2%, thanks to strong library and TV drama sales. During the first half of 2021, Canal Plus Group also expanded its geographical footprint with a launch in Ethiopia, a country with a population of close to 115 million.