Vivendi will list Universal Music on the Stock Exchange “by the start of 2023 at the latest”

Paris ( / hooly News) – French media giant Vivendi announced on Thursday a proposed IPO “no later than early 2023” of its major Universal Music (UMG), part of which it is already in the process of selling to a consortium led by the Chinese internet giant Tencent.

Vivendi’s chairman of the board, Arnaud de Puyfontaine, said during a conference call with press agencies that he wanted to “take up date” on the subsidiary’s listing project. The modalities, in particular the part concerned by the introduction, will be specified later.

UMG saw its turnover climb 18.9% to 7 billion euros last year, thanks in particular to revenue from subscriptions and streaming, according to results published in parallel on Thursday. The major thus strongly contributed to the growth of the turnover of the entire Vivendi group, which exceeded analysts’ expectations (+ 14.1% to 15.9 billion euros, and + 5.6% at constant exchange rates and perimeter).

Vivendi has already planned to sell 10% of Universal Music to a consortium led by Tencent. The operation, which is expected to yield 3 billion euros, should be finalized by mid-2020. The consortium also has an option to acquire, on the same price basis, up to an additional 10% of UMG’s capital.

The operation will introduce Tencent to the capital of one of the largest musical majors in the world and will further open the markets of Asia to a prestigious catalog ranging from the Beatles to Rihanna.

Beyond Tencent, Vivendi recalled Thursday that it was seeking to sell other minority stakes in UMG, which would represent in total up to 50% of the capital.

The cash from these various operations could be used for “a significant share buyback program and acquisitions,” the group said in a statement.

In 2019, Vivendi canceled a total of 130.9 million shares (i.e. 10% of the capital) and indicates that an ongoing program covering 37 million shares continues until April 17.

Buying back and canceling shares automatically increases the participation of existing Vivendi shareholders, starting with the main one, the Bolloré group. It also increases the value of each share in the market.

Among other Vivendi subsidiaries, the Canal + group’s revenues increased by 2% last year on a reported basis. However, they fell slightly (-0.9%) at constant exchange rates and perimeter, in particular due to the drop in the portfolio of individual subscribers in mainland France. Vivendi wants to relaunch its subsidiary with the multiple distribution agreements signed this year with Netflix, Disney or BeIN.

Finally, the communications agency Havas posted growth of 2.6% while the publishing house Editis, which has been integrated into the accounts since February, recorded revenues of 687 million euros.

In the end, Vivendi generated annual net profit of 1.6 billion euros, multiplied by 12.5 compared to the 2018 result, which was notably marked by the depreciation of its Telecom Italia titles for 1 billion euros.

hooly News / ck