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Tencent gets into global groove with 10% stake in Vivendi's Universal

The initial deal would soon be followed by a second one allowing Tencent Music Entertainment to buy a minority stake in UMG's greater China subsidiary.

Reuters  |  Paris/Hong Kong 

Tencent, Chinese firm Tencent
A sign of Tencent is seen during the third annual World Internet Conference in Wuzhen town of Jiaxing, Zhejiang province, China. (Photo: Reuters)

A Tencent-led consortium is taking a 10 per cent stake in Vivendi’s Universal Music Group, valuing the music label that houses Lady Gaga and The Beatles at ^30 billion ($34 billion) and giving the Chinese firm a global backstage pass.

The deal allows both to expand in a recovering global music market, giving Tencent more access to US artists while UMG can tap into the Asian market, including big-selling “K-Pop” Korean pop stars.

After months of talks, French media conglomerate Vivendi said on Tuesday it had finalised the sale of an initial 10 per cent of the world's largest music label to the Tencent consortium, which also had the option to buy up to 10 per cent more by January 2021 on the same price basis.

Vivendi, controlled by French billionaire Vincent Bollore, is seeking to cash in on the music industry's revival, driven by a growing subscription and ad-based music streaming services and the deal gives UMG an enterprise value of ^30 billion.

The initial deal would soon be followed by a second one allowing Tencent Music Entertainment to buy a minority stake in UMG's greater China subsidiary.

Tencent did not immediately respond to a request for comment, while Vivendi did not disclose the details of the consortium beyond saying they were “global financial investors”. Singapore’s state investment firm GIC and Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) were also involved, a source familiar with the deal told Reuters.

First Published: Wed, January 01 2020. 02:22 IST
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