Saturday 13 February 2021 1:45 pm

Vivendi plots €30bn stock market listing for Universal Music Group

Vivendi is planning to list Universal Music Group and distribute 60 per cent of its capital to investors by the end of the year as it looks to cash in on the rising value of music assets.

The French media group today said it has set a minimum target of €30bn (£26bn) for the listing, which is subject to shareholder approval.

Read more: Universal Music buys rights to more than 600 Bob Dylan songs

The float would leave Universal, which is the world’s biggest music company and is home to stars including Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga, as an independent company, with Vivendi holding a 20 per cent stake.

The plans have received a favourable response from Chinese tech giant Tencent, which also controls 20 per cent of Universal after increasing its stake last month.

Vivendi, which is led by billionaire Vincent Bollore, said shareholders would be granted an “exceptional distribution” of Universal shares, which it then plans to list on the Euronext exchange in Amsterdam.

“Vivendi’s leading institutional shareholders have been pressing for a number of years for a split or the distribution of Universal Music Group (UMG) to reduce Vivendi’s conglomerate discount,” the company said in a statement.

The planned listing marks Vivendi’s efforts to cash in on the rising value of music assets as the rise of streaming services such as Spotify has helped to revive the industry.

Rival Warner Music Group last year raised $1.9bn through an initial public offering in the US and has seen its market capitalisation rise to more than $19bn.

Read more: Gimme belters: Music rights firm Round Hill snaps up Rolling Stones and Beatles tracks

A float for Universal would also end speculation over Bollore’s plans for the music major after previously ruling out a listing in 2018.

Vivendi also said it will propose a dividend of €0.60 per share for 2020 at a shareholder meeting scheduled for June.

Read more: Striking a chord: How music rights firms serenaded the stock market

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