PARIS, France (CelebrityAccess) — U.S. private equity firm KKR and Chinese e-commerce giant Tencent’s music subsidiary are among the potential investors exploring bids for up to a 50% stake in Vivendi’s Universal Music Group.
The bidders, first reported by Reuters, join John Malone’s Liberty Media, which as previously reported to be weighing a bid for the label giant.
Recent valuations of the company make the deals worth potentially worth as much as $23 billion, according to sources quoted by Reuters.
According to Reuters, banks for the potential buyers may be appointed as soon as March, with the formal bidding process expected to start in the second quarter of 2019.
UMG is the largest music label in the world, representing artists such as Taylor Swift, Kendrick Lamar, and Drake. The acquisition of its catalog would be a significant boon for companies such as Tencent, which has aspirations in the music streaming world, or Liberty Media, which has been quietly verticalizing the music industry with stakes in key companies such as Live Nation, Pandora, and Sirius/XM.
Last year, Vivendi weighed an IPO for Universal but abandoned the plan in favor of a potential sale. Since then, the label group has been valued at more than $40bn by some estimates.
Reps from Vivendi, KKR and Tencent declined to comment to Reuters on the story.