Vivendi supervisory board chairman Vincent Bollore, also the company’s largest shareholder, turned down an approach from John Malone, chairman and CEO of Liberty Media (parent company of Sirius XM and which owns 27% of Live Nation and 1% of Viacom) to buy Universal Music Group, the New York Post reported last night (Mar. 8).
According to the Post, Malone approached Bollore over the past few months, with Bollore reportedly rejecting the inquiry. UMG represents a significant and lucrative force in Vivendi’s portfolio. According to its 2014 earnings report, UMG’s EBITA (earnings before interest, taxes and amortization) were up 11.3% over the previous year, despite an overall decline in revenues from recorded music. For its part, Sirius XM was, according to Liberty’s company reports, primarily responsible for that company’s earnings in 2014.
Liberty and Vivendi have an acrimonious history; the former won a $956 million judgement against the latter in 2012 over the sale of USA Networks. Liberty accused Vivendi of inflating the television network’s share prices ahead of the sale.
Requests for comment to Vivendi and Liberty Media were not immediately returned.