Tencent-led group to raise stake in Vivendi’s UMG to 20%

FILE PHOTO: A logo of Tencent is seen during the World Internet Conference (WIC) in Wuzhen
FILE PHOTO: A logo of Tencent is seen during the World Internet Conference (WIC) in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, China, November 23, 2020. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

December 18, 2020

PARIS (Reuters) – Vivendi said a Tencent-led consortium would buy an additional 10% stake in Universal Music Group (UMG), home to The Beatles, in a deal valuing the label at 30 billion euros ($37 billion).

The French conglomerate, controlled by billionaire Vincent Bollore, said on Friday it was “pursuing its plan to sell additional minority interests in UMG with the assistance of several mandated banks”.

Tencent, which controls other businesses including popular Chinese messaging service WeChat, has been expanding globally, cementing its role as a gatekeeper to China’s growing but tightly controlled music market.

Vivendi confirmed that a listing of UMG, which is also the music company behind singers such as Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift, was planned at the latest in 2022.

Shares in Vivendi were up 1.3% at 0855 GMT.

In March 2020, the Tencent-led consortium closed the initial purchase of a 10% stake in UMG, with the option to acquire an additional 10% on the same valuation basis until Jan. 15, 2021.

Tencent has a stake in Sweden’s Spotify, the world’s most popular streaming service, and also took shares this year in Warner Music Group, the label behind Ed Sheeran and Cardi B.

Vivendi said it planned to use the proceeds from the UMG deals to reduce its financial debt and to finance share buybacks and acquisitions.

($1 = 0.8161 euros)

(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon and Sarah White; Editing by David Evans and Alexander Smith)