French media conglomerate Vivendi announced on Monday it would seek out buyers to purchase up to half of its music unit, Universal Music Group. Contained in a section of its mid-year financials on the "future evolution" of UMG's share capital, Vivendi said it will soon be engaging banks in order to help identify potential "strategic partners," and that it hoped a transaction can be made this fall with a target completion date within the next year and a half.
The announcement of intent to sell 50 percent of UMG's share capital coincides with Vivendi management's decision to rule out a long-discussed initial public offering of UMG. The company, led by CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine, has not established a known floor price for the entry of partners.
The UMG label family includes the Capitol Music Group, Republic Records, Island Records, Def Jam, Interscope Geffen A&M Records, UMG Nashville and Universal Music Latin, among others.
UMG's revenues for the first half of 2018 amounted to €2.628 billion ($3.08 billion), up 6.8 percent at constant currency compared to the first half of 2017. The label group's recorded music sector grew its revenues by 7.4 percent, led by a 34.3 percent spike in streaming revenues — which offset equally large drops in download and physical sales, -26.5 percent and -19.1 percent respectively.
Best sellers for the year, so far, include Post Malone, Drake and Migos, as well as the soundtrack release from Black Panther.