China’s Tencent Group buys 10% of Vivendi’s Universal for US$3.4 bil

LONDON: A consortium led by China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd agreed to buy 10% of the world’s biggest music company, Universal Music Group, from Vivendi SA, after months of talks.

The deal values Universal Music at €30 billion and allows Tencent and its partners to increase the stake to as much as 20% for the same price before Jan 15, 2021, the companies said in statements on Tuesday.

The French media group has been trying to cash in on the soaring value of the music business, where revenue is growing fast thanks to the booming popularity of subscription streaming.

Tencent could bring Universal Music closer to consumers in Asian markets that are relatively under-served by major music labels.

The companies didn’t name the other consortium members.

Hillhouse Capital and Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte were among potential investors that the Chinese tech giant approached, people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg News in November.

Vivendi first disclosed the talks with Tencent in August.

Vivendi said negotiations are beginning over the potential sale of an additional minority stake in UMG, at a price “which would at least be identical” to the deal with Tencent.