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Lucian Grainge
UMG's Sir Lucian Grainge. Courtesy Image.

Report: Vivendi Eyeing An IPO For UMG

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PARIS, France (CelebrityAccess) — In a sign of just how rosy the financial picture at major labels has become in the era of music streaming, French media giant Vivendi has revealed they are considering listing its music division Universal Music Group as a publicly traded stock.

The division, Universal Music Group, is the world’s biggest recorded music company, with a roster of top tier artists, such as Drake, Taylor Swift, and The Beatles

Vivendi CEO Arnaud de Puyfontain revealed that the company was weighing a public offering at Vivendi’s annual general meeting in Paris.

“We have started work that will allow us to present the benefits of a potential listing of UMG to the supervisory board,” de Puyfontaine told the audience, according to Reuters.

This wasn’t the first time de Puyfontain has floated the idea of an IPO. At a shareholder meeting last June, he responded to a shareholder question about an IPO by saying:

“The value (of UMG) increases every day and it’s true that an IPO would be an interesting thing. The key question for an IPO is to know when is the best time to do it. It’s like cheese puffs, you have to take them out at the right moment.”

Late last year, de Puyfontaine revealed publicly that according to valuations, UMG could be worth quite a bit.

I wouldn’t put a number, but I think that number is higher than the highest one that is currently expressed by the markets,” he told analysts during a 3rd quarter conference call in November. When one analyst pressed him on the matter, asking if he believed the company was worth north of $40bn, he replied, “Yes.”

The news of Vivendi’s interest in an IPO comes as calculations from Midia reveal that global recorded music industry generated wholesale revenues of USD $17.4bn in 2017, up more than 8.5% from 2016. Universal accounted for $5.16bn in revenues, which represented a worldwide market share of almost 30%, according to estimates compiled by Midia.

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