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Vivendi to sell off half Universal Music stock as streaming drives value up

Vivendi looks to sell UMG stock as primary driver of business as revenue is down 8% from last year.

Vivendi has announced in its quarterly report that it will sell off up to 50% of its stock in Universal Music Group to one or more ‘strategic partners’.

The media conglomerate, which also purchased Havas last year, said that the sale will commence in the fall and looked for it to be an 18-month process. UMG was considered worth roughly $24bn by analysts, up from a valuation of $22bn given by Vivendi.

Numbers at a glance

  • Q2 revenue at $7.78bn, up 4.0% YOY
  • Key assets: Havas (advertising), UMG (music), Gameloft (mobile gaming)
  • Havas revenue for H1 down 8% to $1.02bn
  • Shares close up 1.66%

Net profit for the company was listed at $192.3m, a year-on-year decrease of 6.3%

Also announced from Vivendi: the closure of its mobile-first streaming service Studio+, seemingly a trend for standalone mobile content hubs as Verizon's Go90 service had shuttered earlier this summer. The offshoot of its Canal+ channel will have its short-form series rerouted through OTT services and streaming platform Dailymotion.

Havas’s revenue for the first half of the year was totaled at $1.02bn, a total that was down by 8.0% from this time last year, however Vivendi said profitability has been up, especially in North American agencies, and it looked poised to have a stronger second half of the year due to large new business wins.

However, UMG remained the biggest source of revenue for Vivendi, accounting for over 45% of its revenue. Streaming’s increased popularity has more than accounted for last decade’s proliferation of illegal downloads, and according to a conversation in Bloomberg, the money earned can potentially be allocated to its online gaming services like Gameloft.

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