| PARIS/LONDON, April 25
PARIS/LONDON, April 25 Investment banks seeking
to persuade Vivendi to float Universal Music Group
(UMG) says the recovering division is worth about 20 billion
euros ($22 billion), top executives at the Paris-based media
company said on Tuesday.
Bankers have told Vivendi that selling 10 to 15 percent of
UMG would provide funds for other acquisitions and realise the
division's rising value, sources told Reuters.
But no investment bank has been mandated at this stage for
such an IPO, the sources said. Vivendi declined to comment.
UMG, whose artists include Drake, U2, the Weeknd (sic) and
Lady Gaga, has been benefiting from a rebound in business,
thanks to streaming and paid subscriptions such as a multi-year
deal it signed with Spotify, the world's number one music
Its sales grew by 4.4 percent last year, helped by a 60
percent boost from streaming revenues, offsetting the poorer
performance of Vivendi's second unit, pay-TV Canal Plus.
"Today, estimates given by banks proposing an initial public
offering can go up to 20 billion euros," Vivendi General Counsel
Frederic Crepin told the company's annual shareholder meeting.
Most analysts currently value UMG around 12 billion euros.
Vivendi received a first bid for the whole of UMG of 6.5
billion euros in 2013, Crepin said. In 2015, it then had a
preliminary expression of interest of 13.5 billion euros, he
added, without providing the names of any bidders.
The second offer was made by Liberty Media Corp.
chairman John Malone, according to sources close to the matter.
Vivendi, led by billionaire Vincent Bollore, is keen on
stimulating its share price, as analysts still await more
details about how exactly its strategy to build an integrated
European media powerhouse will pan out.
In three years, the tycoon, who now has sole control, has
spent nearly 15 billion euros ($16 billion) on remunerating
shareholders and acquisitions, including taking large stakes in
Telecom Italia and Italian broadcaster Mediaset
"What's important for us is to boost the share price,"
Bollore told investors on Tuesday.
($1 = 0.9148 euros)
(Editing by Andrew Callus and Alexander Smith)