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Bankers to be appointed for Vivendi’s sale of Universal Music stake

By | Published on Thursday 25 July 2019


Vivendi is expected to appoint several investment banks later today to begin work on the long expected sale of a slice of the Universal Music Group. The French conglom confirmed a year ago that it was seeking a “strategic partner” to buy into its music business.

More recently Vivendi Chair Yannick Bollore confirmed that a sale of some of Universal was still the plan, though he insisted the company was in no rush to do a deal and therefore had time to find the right partner. He also insisted that Vivendi wasn’t planning to “spin off” its music division, saying that it simply wanted a new partner to come to the table to help it capitalise on the recent revival of the recorded music market.

There has been much speculation, of course, as to who the possible bidders could be, ie who is interested in buying up to half of the Universal music company. And also over just how big a valuation the music firm could get in any such deal. The mega-major is the world’s biggest record company, of course, and the biggest music merchandiser and second biggest music publisher. It also dabbles in other aspects of the music business in some markets.

Some have suggested that the full Universal Music Group could be worth more than 40 billion euros. Although the fact that the recent boom in music rights income has been fuelled by mainly loss-making streaming services; and that the power of the labels and especially publishers when signing new artist deals is declining; and some test cases involving the termination right in American copyright law, could all impact on any actual valuation.

In that recent interview, Bollore confirmed that Vivendi hoped to have the formal bidding process underway this year. It’s now Reuters which is citing sources saying the bankers who will lead that process will be confirmed imminently.