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Universal Music Group shares surge on stock market debut By Reuters


© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: A building in Zurich (Switzerland) displays the logo for Universal Music Group (UMG). July 20, 2021. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) -Universal Music Group’s shares surged at the start of trading on Tuesday, as owner Vivendi (OTC:) spun off the record label in the biggest European listing of the year.

The 60% share of Universal was given to Vivendi shareholders. William Ackman, a billionaire U.S. hedge-fund investor, and Tencent in China will retain large portions alongside Vivendi’s 10%.

Universal Music Group was traded at 25.61 Euros by 0710 GMT. That’s an increase of around 38% over its reference price. It gives the biggest music label in the world more than 46 billion euro (or $54 billion).

UMG is betting that a boom in streaming led by Spotify (NYSE:) that has fuelled royalty revenue and profit growth for several years still has a long way to run, in a music industry it dominates along with Warner and Sony (NYSE:) Music.

UMG, the business that owns Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift’s music, is betting on a streaming boom that will continue to drive revenues and profits in an industry that it controls alongside Warner Music and Sony Music.

Universal is also the home of Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift and other top-selling artists. It hopes to make deals with advertising sites TikTok and YouTube along with streaming services like Spotify.

Universal’s revenue comes in part from rights to the extensive catalogue. It also earns royalties on behalf of artists across all social media platforms as well as far away places.

After a brief blip, the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged live concert audiences and Universal’s merchandise business. However, ad-supported revenue has risen since then.

This flotation carries significant stakes for Canal+ owner Vivendi. It hopes to get rid of a discount that it feels has harmed its shares.($1 = 0.8522 euros)

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