PARIS, July 24 (Reuters) - French media group Vivendi is set to appoint several investment banks on Thursday for the sale of up to 50% of Universal Music Group, its most-prized asset, said a source close to the matter.
It has been a year since the Paris-based company said it would sell part of the division, unnerving investors and leaving equity analysts scrambling on the asset's valuation, with estimates ranging from 17 billion euros ($19 billion) for Redburn to 44 billion euros for JP Morgan.
The group, controlled by billionaire Vincent Bollore, is seeking to cash in on the growing public thirst for subscription and ad-based music streaming services, which have propelled Universal's profits over the last four years.
Universal is the world's biggest music label, home to artists like Taylor Swift, Drake, Kendrick Lamar and Lady Gaga.
Vivendi, which reports first-half earnings on Thursday, declined to comment.
$1 = 0.8969 euros Reporting by Gwenaelle Barzic; Writing by Mathieu Rosemain; Editing by Jean-Michel Belot/Sudip Kar-Gupta