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VIVENDI UNVEILS UMG IPO PLAN

Vivendi is putting a plan in motion to list 60% of its share of Universal Music Group on the Euronext market in Amsterdam. The time frame for the long-discussed UMG IPO appears to be the second half of this year.

A Vivendi shareholders meeting has been set for 3/29 to modify the company’s by-laws to make the distribution possible. Vivendi would still own one-fifth of the music company.

On Monday, Vivendi’s stock price enjoyed its biggest one-day gain since it was listed in 1989, closing about €31. Shares in Bollore SA, the majority holder of Vivendi, were up as much as 18%.

In a letter to employees, UMG CEO and Chairman Sir Lucian Grainge wrote, “I couldn’t be prouder; not only is this a validation of our strategy, our teams and our unprecedented record of success, it’s a natural evolution in the storied history of our company that will enable our entrepreneurial and creative culture to continue to soar. 

“We’ll continue to drive towards our strategic goals—full steam ahead. We’ll remain committed to our artists and songwriters. And we’ll continue to innovate and help lead the music community towards an incredible next chapter.

“In short, as I’ve said many times, we’ll stay true to our mission: harnessing our collective talents and resources to shape culture through the power of music.  When, in collaboration with artists, we come together as a company, what we can achieve is truly remarkable.”

Vivendi explained that institutional shareholders have pushed for either a split or the distribution of UMG, which held out until it could “obtain a fair value” for shareholders. The minimum target for UMG’s enterprise value has been €30b.

Since the Tencent-led consortium finalized its acquisition of 20% of UMG for €6b, other investors have expressed a desire to buy in “at potentially higher prices.”

Vivendi will continue to work on this project prior to its annual shareholders meeting on 6/22. Expect it to be a major point of discussion when Vivendi announces its financial results on 3/3.

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