Vivendi to Sell Up to Half of Universal Music Group

Vivendi is planning to sell up to 50% of Universal Music Group, the company said Monday.

The French media giant said it would sell half of UMG, whose artists include Lady Gaga and Drake, to “one or more strategic partners, in order to extract the highest value” from the subsidiary. “An IPO was ruled out due to its complexity,” Vivendi said.

UMG’s revenues for the first half of 2018 amounted to €2.628 billion ($3.08 billion), up 6.8 percent at constant currency compared to the first half of 2017. The label group’s recorded music sector grew its revenues by 7.4 percent, led by a 34.3 percent spike in streaming revenues — which offset equally large drops in download and physical sales, -26.5 percent and -19.1 percent respectively.

In April, Vivendi valued UMG at $22 billion.

The sale process will likely start this fall and could be completed within the next 18 months. Vivendi will be working with banks to help identify strategic partners and will set up a “floor price for the entry of partners into UMG’s share capital,” the company in a statement accompanying the release of its half-yearly results.

Vivendi is now under the chairmanship of Yannick Bollore, the son of former chairman Vincent Bollore.