2020 Grammys

UMG CEO Lucian Grainge Calls Tencent Deal 'Strong Validation of Our Business Strategy'

Rich Polk/Getty Images
Lucian Grainge attends the 2019 Billboard Power 100 on Feb. 7, 2019 in Los Angeles. 

Universal Music Group chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge has hailed today's confirmation of Tencent’s investment in UMG, calling it a "strong validation of our business strategy." In a memo to staff, Grainge outlined the details of the arrangement, which include a sale of 10% of the share capital of UMG to a  Tencent-led consortium, based on a €30 billion ($33.6 billion) valuation of the music giant.

Tencent also has an option to buy another 10% stake on the same terms, but must do so by Jan. 15, 2021. An additional agreement is already in the works that would allow Tencent Music, a joint venture of Tencent Holdings and Spotify, to acquire a minority share capital of UMG’s subsidiary in Greater China.

Grainge said Tencent's investment gives UMG the ability increase resources to “advance our strategy,” however, “everything else will remain the same.”

Read the memo below:

Dear Colleagues,

I wanted to write you directly to highlight today’s announcement from Vivendi of a successful investment in Universal Music Group by a consortium led by Tencent.

Details are included in the below press release, but they are essentially in line with Vivendi’s prior statements on this matter: the consortium of investors will purchase 10% of the share capital of UMG with UMG’s full enterprise value set at €30 billion. Vivendi also announced that the Tencent-led consortium has the option to acquire up to an additional 10% of UMG’s shares by January 15, 2021, as well as a second agreement that allows Tencent Music Entertainment to acquire a minority of a UMG subsidiary company that includes our operations in Greater China.

With the exception of additional resources to further advance our strategy, everything else will remain the same: our strategic vision; our company, label and business unit names; our locations; and of course, our outstanding people.

This is an exciting development reflecting a strong validation of our business strategy, our incredible team and your excellent work. It also reflects our shared optimism about UMG’s continued role as the driving force in our industry and how focused we are on the future.

I will continue to keep you appraised of any further developments. In the meantime, thank you again for all you do.

Lucian

In his annual year-end letter to staff, sent on Dec. 19, Grainge said UMG would push into new markets in 2020 and "contin[ue] to invest in local-language music," having already expanded operations in China and Southeast Asia and launched new labels in Africa, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.


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