Vivendi has entered into discussions with U.S. investment fund, Pershing Square Tontine Holdings, Ltd. (PSTH), to sell 10% of Universal Music Group’s (UMG BV) share capital ahead of its listing in Amsterdam before the end of September.
The sale of 10% would be based on an enterprise value of €35 billion ($42.3 billion) for 100% of the UMG BV share capital. The deal would have to be approved during Vivendi’s shareholders meeting on June 22, during which they are also expected to approve the distribution of 60% of the UMG share capital amongst shareholders in the form of special dividends. This distribution of dividends will precede the listing of those 60% of UMG shares on the Euronext market in Amsterdam, with a minimum target value for the company nearing €30 billion. UMG plans to retain 10% of UMG after these transactions.
The Pershing Square funds and their affiliates, which are represented by CEO Bill Ackman, “have indicated that they may acquire additional economic exposure to UMG by acquiring Vivendi securities and/or UMG securities following the distribution of UMG shares by Vivendi,” said the company.
The Paris-headquartered group, which is also the parent company of Canal Plus Group, previously sold 20% of UMG to Tencent late last year for €6 billion.
UMG saw its revenues go up 9.4% during the first quarter of 2021 thanks to the growth in subscription and streaming revenues. Recorded music revenues grew by 10.8%, while physical sales were up 14.8%, driven by bigger sales of new release, including King & Prince and Justin Bieber, as well as continued sales from The Weeknd, Ariana Grande and Pop Smoke.
UMG has been a major source of financial resilience and growth of Vivendi, which posted a 5% revenue increase to €3.9 billion during the first quarter of 2021.