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Tencent still seeking partners for investment in UMG


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The long-running saga of Vivendi’s attempts to sell off up to 50% of Universal Music Group is taking another twist. In August, Vivendi announced that it had entered into ‘primary negotiations’ with Tencent Holdings to buy a 10% stake in UMG with an option to buy another 10%, in a deal valuing the music group at more than $33.6bn.

Then in November, it was reported that Tencent might seek co-investors to help it buy that stake, shortly before independent body Impala promised to oppose the deal on competition grounds.

Today’s twist comes from Reuters: “Tencent Holdings Ltd has turned to Singapore’s state investor GIC and other sovereign funds to help rescue a deal to buy a stake in Vivendi’s Universal Music after major buyout funds quit the negotiating table,” it reported.

It went on to claim that Tencent has “struggled to find the money to complete the transaction” and that KKR and Hellman & Friendman are the private-equity funds who have walked away from the deal.

But another twist: “Under the latest plan – still being negotiated with Vivendi – the Chinese tech group would take a 20% to 30% stake in the music label via a consortium of state investors that would stump up the cash.” The report suggests that the deal, if it goes through, could come this month or in January.

Stuart Dredge

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