Liberty Media CEO Says He’s Eyeing a Universal Music Stake
(Bloomberg) -- Liberty Media Corp. Chief Executive Officer Greg Maffei said the company would “absolutely” consider buying a Universal Music Group stake, which is being sold by parent Vivendi SA.
Responding to a question at Liberty’s investor conference in New York, Maffei said UMG would be a logical fit in a portfolio of assets that includes satellite-radio provider Sirius XM Holdings Inc. and online-radio company Pandora Media Inc.
“Would we look at UMG if presented? Absolutely,” Maffei said on Wednesday. “Does it make potentially some sense to own part of the content infrastructure as a way to hedge? Absolutely.”
Vivendi announced plans in July to sell up to half of UMG to one or more partners, particularly companies that are “compatible” with the division’s current strategy. It has ruled out an initial public offering for the business.
The French media giant said at the time that it was likely to get a transaction underway “this fall” with the goal of completing the deal within the next 18 months.
UMG, whose stable of artists includes Drake, Taylor Swift and U2, accounted for about 45 percent of Vivendi’s revenue and 70 percent of its operating income last year. Analysts at Liberum valued Universal Music at 20.6 billion euros ($24 billion) earlier this year.
Vivendi shares fell 0.2 percent in Paris at 11:17 a.m. on Thursday. The stock has declined 5.1 percent this year.
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