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Universal valued at $40 billion, more than parent Vivendi: documents

Stock MarketsMay 13, 2021 03:30AM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Vivendi logo is pictured at the main entrance of the entertainment-to-telecoms conglomerate headquarters in Paris March 14, 2014. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

(This May 12 story corrects to read 1.1 billion in paragraph 8)

By Mathieu Rosemain

PARIS (Reuters) - French media giant Vivendi (OTC:VIVHY) said on Wednesday that the equity of its most prized asset, Universal Music Group, was worth 33 billion euros ($40 billion), or more than the market value of the parent company.

In documents released ahead of Vivendi's general meeting scheduled in June, the group went into the details of the prepared listing of Universal, which will see the group controlled by billionaire Vincent Bollore distribute 60% of Universal's capital to its current shareholders.

The transaction is aimed at extracting the most value from Universal, the world's biggest music label and home to singers such as Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift, as the music industry rebounds from a long downturn thanks to streaming revenues, driven by music platforms Spotify (NYSE:SPOT) and the like.

Universal's 33 billion-euro valuation was determined by accounting firms PwC and EY. This means the 60% stake distributed to Vivendi's shareholders is worth 19.8 billion euros.

Universal's parent company has a market value of 32 billion euros, according to Refinitiv data.

At the end of the IPO process, Universal's three biggest shareholders would be Vivendi (20%), the Tencent-led consortium (20%) and Bollore (16%).

In its documents, Vivendi said that Universal was drawing interest from potential investors and that it could sell some of its 20% stake to a "strategic partner" ahead of the distribution of Universal's shares. It added that its intention was to keep at least a 10% stake in the company for a long period of time.

There will be about 1.1 billion Universal shares distributed to Vivendi's shareholders, according to the documents. Dividing the valuation corresponding to 60% of Universal by the exact number of shares gives a price per Universal share of 18.2 euros.

The French conglomerate outlined plans in February to distribute 60% of Universal's capital to its current shareholders via a listing in Amsterdam, ending years of questions about Bollore's will to list the asset, whose operational earnings represent more than half of the all group.

Vivendi also outlined the calendar of Universal's initial public offering (IPO), setting a Sept. 27 deadline for the listing of the shares in Amsterdam.

The Paris-based group also disclosed the first-quarter financial earnings of Universal. Universal generated earnings before interest and income taxes (EBIT) of 322 million euros over the first three months of the year, up from 248 million euros the year before.

Universal valued at $40 billion, more than parent Vivendi: documents
 

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