Vivendi 'not in a hurry' over Universal Music Group sale

Vivendi 'not in a hurry' over Universal Music Group sale

Vivendi chairman Yannick Bolloré has said the company is "not in a hurry" to sell Universal Music Group, but said the sale process remains "on track".

The plan to sell up to a 50% stake in the world's largest music firm was announced back in July 2018, with valuations ranging from $30-50 billion (£24-40bn).

However, Bolloré told Bloomberg: "We didn't say that we wanted to spin off Universal Music Group. The supervisory board of Vivendi is working with the management board here to try to find the strategy for a financial partner up to 50% of the shares to accelerate the growth of UMG. 

"As you may know the music industry is going through a huge period of growth, the business is thriving and we want to make sure we can accelerate this growth in the coming years so for now we have communicated that we want to open a process before the end of 2019 and all the management of Vivendi is very confident that the process is still on the right track."

UMG revenues were €6.023bn (£5.31bn) in 2018, up 10% year-on-year on a constant currency basis. 

We are not in a hurry. Vivendi is doing very well; UMG is doing very well

Yannick Bolloré

Vivendi

Bolloré added that there was no rush to conclude a sale, with the process only expected to open by the end of the year.

"We are not in a hurry," he said. "Vivendi is doing very well; UMG is doing very well; the question is how to find the right partner up to 50% once again. But everything's fine, trust me."

Meanwhile, Sir Lucian Grainge, Universal Music Group CEO/chairman, has written to staff at the major about the historic fire that destroyed master recordings.

There has been speculation that up to 500,000 master recordings in the archive were destroyed, including original masters by Chuck Berry, Elton JohnGuns N’ Roses, Nirvana and Aretha Franklin.

Music Week has obtained the memo to staff from Sir Lucian, who was not in the CEO role at the time. He pledged to provide artists with “transparency” and described the loss of archive material as “heartbreaking”. 

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