Skip to main content
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track on the Olympic Games
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week for 24 weeks
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track onthe Olympics Games
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Shareholders in Vivendi applauded on Tuesday the French media giant’s plan to spin off its $39-billion Universal music business, underpinning Vincent Bollore’s grip on the group and ignoring concerns expressed by several funds.

Bluebell Capital Partners and investment fund Artisan Partners said the transaction was unfavourable to some investors, setting the stage for what could have been a standoff between the French tycoon and some minority shareholders.

Instead, the proposal to spinoff Universal Music Group (UMG), which involves distributing 60 per cent of Universal’s shares to Vivendi shareholders, received more than 99 per cent of the votes in favour.

Story continues below advertisement

Vivendi plans to list Universal, valued at €33-billion ($39-billion) by its parent company, in Amsterdam in autumn. The group said Universal could make its market debut on Sept. 21.

Bollore, Vivendi’s controlling shareholder with a 27 per cent stake, would be one of the first beneficiaries of the transaction after listing the music division, which is home to artists such as Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift.

Bluebell had expressed concerns about another resolution put to vote on Tuesday, which would allow Vivendi to buy back and cancel its shares for up to 50 per cent of its capital.

The fund questioned whether it could allow Bollore to increase his stake in Vivendi without making a tender offer.

Bollore’s family-owned group pledged that it would not request an exemption to file a tender offer on Vivendi’s shares if it crossed the 30 per cent threshold in capital ownership.

In the end, the resolution received 73 per cent of votes in favour.

Two major investors have already invested in Universal.

Story continues below advertisement

William Ackman’s Pershing Square Tontine Holdings (PSTH), a special purpose acquisition vehicle, has signed a deal to buy 10 per cent of the music business.

Prior to this transaction, a consortium led by Chinese giant Tencent bought a 20 per cent chunk in Universal.

Ackman’s investment prompted billionaire and hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb’s Third Point to buy a substantial stake in Vivendi to evaluate the sale of the 10 per cent Universal stake to PSTH, a source familiar with the firm’s holdings said.

“We think (the spinoff) should have been done in a different way,” said Giuseppe Bivona, a partner at Bluebell, following Vivendi’s shareholders meeting. “But we think UMG is going to flourish much more outside the group than it has done in the past.”

Be smart with your money. Get the latest investing insights delivered right to your inbox three times a week, with the Globe Investor newsletter. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Tickers mentioned in this story
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies