The French media conglomerate Vivendi plans to bring music group Universal Music Group (UMC) to the stock exchange in Amsterdam before the end of the year.
Universal Music is the music label behind pop stars like Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift and Billie Eilish, as well as ‘classics’ like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, and is number one in the world.
The French media group Vivendi, owned by French businessman Vincent Bolloré, wants to bring 60 percent of Universal Music to the stock exchange. It already sold a 10 percent stake to a consortium led by the Chinese internet company at the end of 2019 Tencent Holdings. Universal Music valued that at a whopping 30 billion euros.
The Chinese company, which is already working with Universal through a distribution agreement, had already expanded its stake in UMC to 20 percent in December with its partners. Tencent dominates the Chinese internet with its shopping service WeChat and has a separate listing in New York for its music division.
Vivendi has been trying to split off its music division for at least a year. A stock exchange listing would give Universal – which, like the rest of the industry – is capitalizing on the rising popularity of music streaming – more financial strength to compete with rivals such as Warner Music and Sony Music.
Vivendi initially planned to take his music daughter to the stock exchange sometime in early 2023 but accelerated his plans and is now aiming for the end of this year. On March 29, Vivendi will ask its shareholders at an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting to facilitate the IPO.
Made in early February Warner Music, the record company behind artists like Ed Sheeran and Katy Perry, wants it to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Like Universal, Warner, which is owned by British billionaire Len Blavatnik, among others, is benefiting from the rise of streaming services such as Spotify. This again ensures stable and predictable revenues for record companies.
The Amsterdam stock exchange has ended almost as hip as Billie Eilish. Officially the liveliest in Europe, she dethroned London in terms of trading volumes last month. The daily trading volume in Amsterdam amounted to an average of EUR 9.2 billion in January. London was stuck at 8.6 billion euros.