Vivendi is still planning to list Universal Music Group on the Euronext Amsterdam stock exchange by 27 September, but there may be one last investment deal to be done before then. The company offered its latest update on its plans yesterday, including the distribution of 60% of UMG shares to existing Vivendi shareholders.
However, before that: “The group is analyzing the opportunity of selling 10% of UMG shares to an American investor or initiating a public offering of at least 5% and up to 10% of UMG shares,” said Vivendi. It is planning to keep 10% of UMG’s share capital for at least two years, although it is not planning to take any seats on UMG’s board.
That mention of an ‘American investor’ is very specific, and will inevitably fuel speculation about whether such a company is already in talks with Vivendi. MBW reminds us that Liberty Media, of SiriusXM (and Formula 1) fame, has previously made positive noises about taking a stake in UMG.
US investment firm KKR is another past (reported) suitor. And in a week where Amazon is reportedly in talks to buy Hollywood studio MGM, it’s not entirely fanciful to wonder whether one of the American Big Tech (Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google) might yet be tempted by a stake in Big Music, albeit with various challenges – from competition concerns to ‘value gap’ awkwardness – making these the least likely buyers.
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