Vivendi is ready for almost all shareholders’ vote on the spin-off of the Common Music Group

Taylor Swift performs on stage during the Taylor Swift Reputation Stadium Tour at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on August 11, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia.

John Shearer – TAS18 – Getty Images for TAS

The French media group Vivendi is waiting for a close vote from investors about its planned spin-off of the legendary Universal Music Group.

If approved, the world’s largest music label – home to stars like Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift – will complete its listing on Euronext Amsterdam in late September, Vivendi said.

The shareholders are expected to vote on the proposal on Tuesday.

It comes after billionaire William Ackman’s SPAC Pershing Square Tontine Holdings signed a deal to buy 10% of UMG for around $ 4 billion, the companies announced over the weekend. The deal gave UMG an enterprise value of 35 billion euros (41.55 billion US dollars).

A consortium led by the Chinese Titans Tencent Holdings already owns 20% of the shares in the group. UMG accounts for around three quarters of Vivendi’s profit.

Vivendi’s shareholders’ meeting began at 9 a.m., London time. Investors will vote on the proposed distribution of 60% of UMG’s share capital to shareholders along with the Amsterdam listing.

Although the spin-off is expected to gain support at the first meeting, criticism has been voiced by activist hedge funds Artisan Partners and Bluebell, who claim it will benefit top shareholder Vincent Bollore disproportionately over smaller investors.

The French billionaire Bollore holds 30% of the voting rights in UMG. For the spin-off to take place, 50% must vote in favor.

Shareholders will also vote on a plan to buy back and delete up to 50% of Vivendi’s shares, which will require two-thirds of the support.

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