Vivendi Planning to Move Forward With UMG IPO This Year

The idea is to avoid the so-called “conglomerate discount,” under which a company could be valued by the market as less than the sum of its parts — especially by investors looking for more direct exposure to the music sector at a time when streaming is fueling growth and optimism.

“This plan is the result of the joint efforts in recent years by the Vivendi and the Universal Music Group, under the leadership of Sir Lucian Grainge, to further the company’s position as the music industry’s undisputed leader,” said Vivendi in a letter about the move that was shared internally at Universal by Grainge, the company’s chairman and CEO. “Recently the successful opening of UMG’s share capital to an international consortium led by Tencent has confirmed its attractiveness with strategic investors.”

A consortium led by Tencent owns 20% of Universal, and Vivendi now owns the remaining 80%. Based on the last acquisition of shares, by the Tencent consortium in December, Universal could be worth as much as $37 billion.

“I couldn’t be prouder,” Grainge said in his letter to the company. “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.”

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