© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: French media giant Vivendi's logo in Paris
By Dominique Vidalon
PARIS (Reuters) – Vivendi (OTC:) said on Saturday it planned to distribute 60% of Universal Music's capital to investors, subject to shareholder approval, and aimed to list its most-prized asset, home to singers such as Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift, by the end of the year.
The plan to list Universal represents part of a process launched by Vivendi's top shareholder French billionaire Vincent Bollore to cash in on the music industry's revival.
"Vivendi’s leading institutional shareholders have been pressing for a number of years for a split or the distribution of Universal Music Group (UMG) to reduce Vivendi’s conglomerate discount," Vivendi said in a statement.
The French conglomerate said the distribution would take the form of a special dividend.
UMG, a holding company currently being incorporated in the Netherlands, will apply for a listing on Euronext in Amsterdam.
The transaction has received a favorable response from the consortium led by China's tech group Tencent, which now controls 20% of UMG, having bought the stake in two successive waves that valued UMG at 30 billion euros ($36.35 billion), Vivendi said.
Vivendi said it would hold an extraordinary shareholders meeting on March 29 to modify the company's by-laws and make the distribution possible.
In addition, Vivendi will propose to distribute a 0.60 euros per share dividend for its 2020 fiscal year at a shareholders meeting scheduled for June 22.
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