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UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP EXECS
IN ANALYST MEETINGS

Get-Togethers in London, Paris and New York Spur IPO Speculation
Vivendi Universal’s Universal Music Group is conducting meetings in the U.S. and Europe this week to give analysts a better picture of what lies ahead for the company, according to a Reuters report.

In London today, Paris tomorrow and New York on Thursday, UMG Chairman/CEO Doug Morris, President/ COO Zach Horowitz, International Chairman/CEO Jorgen Larsen and Vice Chairman/CFO Nick Henny are reportedly highlighting how UMG has been working to cut costs, find new revenue sources and combat piracy.

Also on the table is what the competitive landscape might look like if the number of majors is reduced from five to four, if the proposed merger of Sony and BMG now under review by the European Commission is approved or some other combination emerges.

The three-stop road show has renewed speculation that VU is getting ready to take at least part of UMG public. At least some analysts are saying, however, that it would make more sense for the company to wait until its ongoing cost-cutting and other efficiency measures show some improvement to the bottom line before attempting a public offering—a process that could take years.

Last year, UMG’s operating income slid precipitously to just $81 million, down from about $660 million the year before.

While the UMG meetings represent the first time VU has brought together all of the division’s senior managers since the freewheeling days of Jean-Marie Messier, Reuters says, VU has previously put together similar analyst meetings with other units, including phone company Cegetel and television operator Canal Plus, since the arrival of current CEO Jean-Rene Fourtou two years ago.

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