Vivendi rejects call for sale of Universal Music

Adam Hignett
FRENCH media group Vivendi said it had rejected a US hedge fund’s call for the sale of its Universal Music unit, adding yesterday that most shareholders backed its strategy.

P Schoenfeld Asset Management (PSAM) is weighing a challenge to the group’s strategy and dividend policy, as piloted by chairman Vincent Bollore, at the annual shareholder meeting on 17 April.

The fund owns less than one per cent of Vivendi but is disillusioned with the company’s share price.

Universal Music is headed up by Londoner Lucian Grainge, who topped the Billboard Power 100 list as the most influential person in the music industry.

Grainge, influential in the careers of an array of artists including the late Amy Winehouse, is now based in the US for Universal. He has played a major role in monetising the value of music in the digital age.

The company made clear yesterday that Universal Music was not for sale, saying the management board opposes the dismantling of Vivendi.

It went further, saying it was reaffirming its desire to build a Paris-based, global industrial content and media group.

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