Universal Music tunes up for stock market listing

Ben Woods
·1-min read
Taylor Swift is among the artists on Universal's books - Mario Anzuoni/Reuters
Taylor Swift is among the artists on Universal's books - Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

The recording giant behind Taylor Swift, Bruce Springsteen and ABBA is being dressed up for a stock market listing in two years. 

Universal Music Group has been earmarked to float after French owner Vivendi offloaded a 10pc stake in March to a consortium led by China’s Tencent.

The sale valued Universal - the world’s biggest recorded music group - at €30bn (£27bn) and included an option for the consortium to buy a further 10pc of the business by January 2021.

Vivendi, which also owns French broadcaster Canal+ and advertising group Havas, took control of Universal Music in 2006. 

Universal owns a tranche of record labels spanning Island Records, Polydor and Capitol.

Vivendi also plans to sell “additional minority interests” in Universal ahead of the stock market listing. 

The update came as Vivendi said sales rose 1.3pc to €4bn in three months to September compared to last year, driven by 3pc and 7pc growth at Universal and Canal+ respectively. 

Universal’s revenues were also up 4pc to €5.3bn in the first nine months of the year, with subscription and streaming sales climbing 16pc. 

Universal was handed a boost from a string of best-selling releases over the period from Justin Bieber, The Weeknd and King & Prince. 

That helped to offset sluggish sales at Havas, which came under pressure from the pandemic-induced fall in advertising.