Loeb’s Third Point Has Built Substantial Position in Vivendi
(Bloomberg) -- Dan Loeb’s Third Point has built a substantial position in Vivendi SE and is examining the French media company’s plan to sell a 10% stake in its Universal Music Group to fellow activist investor Bill Ackman, according to people familiar with the matter.
The New York-based hedge fund has held the position in Vivendi for several months, and has yet to voice an opinion on whether it would support the UMG transaction, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. The exact size of Third Point’s stake or its rationale for buying it could not be determined.
A representative for Third Point declined to comment. A representative for Vivendi said the company is yet to see any evidence of a stake being built. Shares of the Paris-based company jumped as much as 2.75%.
The investment comes as Vivendi prepares to take its plan to spin off 60% of its UMG division to a shareholder vote on June 22. This month, Ackman said his blank-check company, Pershing Square Tontine Holdings Ltd., was nearing a deal to acquire a roughly $4 billion stake in UMG ahead of the spinoff. The transaction, if it proceeds, would value the division at about 35 billion euros ($42 billion), including debt.
Artisan Partners, which is Vivendi’s 11th-largest holder, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, came out last week against the proposal. Artisan said it would rather see the company spin off all of UMG to shareholders in a tax-efficient manner than sell bits of the prized asset piecemeal for cash.
The investment firm also called the plan to distribute UMG shares to Vivendi stockholders tax inefficient, echoing objections from activist investor Bluebell Capital Partners, which has asked France’s financial market regulator to investigate the plan.
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