Universal Music Group is not currently up for sale – if anything, its parent company Vivendi’s focus on its music division has sharpened since it sold off telco SFR and its majority stake in games firm Activision Blizzard. Yet this isn’t stopping potential suitors sniffing around UMG, with the latest reportedly being Liberty Media.
According to the New York Post, its chairman John Malone “approached Vincent Bolloré, the chairman and biggest shareholder of Vivendi, to gauge the French media and entertainment conglomerate’s interest in selling Universal Music Group” in the last few months. It met little interest, as did an $8.5bn offer from Japanese firm SoftBank in 2013. The Post suggests that bad blood over a 2013 lawsuit may have scuppered Malone’s approach. “They would have to pay an astronomical number,” claims its source.