Vivendi plans to list 60% of its share of Universal Music Group on the Euronext market in Amsterdam by the end of the year, according to announcements from the companies in the early hours of Saturday. The minimum target value for the company is 30 billion Euros, or around $36 billion.
In a letter to employees obtained by Variety, UMG CEO and Chairman Sir Lucian Grainge wrote, “I couldn’t be prouder: not only is this a validation of our strategy, our teams, and our unprecedented record of success, it’s a natural evolution in the storied history of our company that will enable our entrepreneurial and creative culture to continue to soar.
“We’ll continue to drive towards our strategic goals – full steam ahead. We’ll remain committed to our artists and songwriters. And we’ll continue to innovate and help lead the music community towards an incredible next chapter.
“In short, as I’ve said many times, we’ll stay true to our mission: harnessing our collective talents and resources to shape culture through the power of music. When, in collaboration with artists, we come together as a company, what we can achieve is truly remarkable.”
A Vivendi shareholders’ meeting has been set for late March to further the process. The company had announced late last year that it was planning the IPO for 2022; the reason for the sped-up timeline — let alone making the announcement early on a Saturday morning — was not entirely clear, although it may be because of shareholders lobbying for sooner action.
The note from Vivendi chiefs Arnaud de Puyfontaine and Yanick Bolloré states: “The potential distribution of 60% of UMG’s share capital will be subject to a Vivendi Extraordinary Shareholders’ Meeting on March 29, 2021. The plan, if it comes to fruition, would mark a new phase in the outstanding relationship between our companies which has been established over many years. UMG would be in a position to take advantage of greatly increased financial flexibility to pursue its dynamic growth and its pioneering role in the music and entertainment industry, to the benefit of artists and fans everywhere.”
Vivendi noted that Tencent — which finalized its acquisition of 20% of UMG late last year for 6 billion Euros, is expecting a higher price this time around.
The company’s annual shareholders’ meeting is scheduled for June 22, with its next financial results on March 3.