The news came as the company reported financial results for the third quarter, with UMG posting a 3% uptick in revenue to €1.855 billion, or about $2.2 billion.
Taking Universal Music public will follow what Vivendi described as “the first phase of the opening of UMG’s share capital,” which was completed earlier this year. On March 31, UMG finalized the sale of 10% of its share capital to a Tencent-led consortium. Those investors have the option to acquire, on the same valuation basis, up to an additional 10% of the share capital of UMG until January 15, 2021.
In a separate deal, Tencent Music Entertainment acquired a minority stake in the capital of the UMG subsidiary owning its Greater China operations.
For the first nine months of 2020, Vivendi said, recorded music revenue grew 6% on a nearly 16% jump in subscriptions and streaming as well as the receipt of a digital royalty claim in the first quarter. Physical sales dropped 10% from 2019 levels and download sales fell 20%.
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Best sellers through the end of September included new releases by The Weeknd, King & Prince, BTS, Justin Bieber and Lil Baby, as well as continued sales from Billie Eilish and Post Malone.
For the week of August 21 to August 27, Universal had nine of the Top 10 albums in the U.S. on the Billboard 200. That’s only the fourth time that has happened in the chart’s 64-year history and all four times have involved Universal.
In the UK, the company had nine of the Top 10 releases on the official album charts for the week ending September 10.
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