Two months after Universal Music Group rocked the music world with a $33 billion valuation tied to an impending investment, its parent company revealed that other investors may want in “at a similar price level.”
UMG parent Vivendi on Thursday said unnamed investors are seeking to follow Chinese investment firm Tencent Holdings in acquiring a stake in the world’s largest music label, which counts Ariana Grande (right), Elton John and Taylor Swift among its roster of artists.
“Some have already expressed an interest in investing at a similar price level,” Vivendi said, referring to Tencent’s plans to acquire a 10 percent stake in Universal for $3.3 billion.
Aside from Tencent — a formidable presence in China, with three streaming-music platforms — Vivendi hasn’t identified UMG’s potential bidders. But there could be plenty of room for new investors as Vivendi signaled its willingness to sell up to half the label in July 2018.
Sources close to the process say John Malone’s Liberty Media and private equity firm KKR, previously reported to be vying for stakes, are no longer pursuing UMG — although interest among financial players remains high.
Meanwhile, Tencent should complete its due diligence on its Universal purchase “in the coming weeks,” Vivendi said.
Tencent — which also owns stakes in video game maker Activision Blizzard and Elon Musk’s electric-car company, Tesla — has made headlines in recent weeks for cancelling NBA games set to be broadcast in China in retaliation for a tweet by the general manager of the Houston Rockets in support of protestors in Hong Kong seeking independence from China.