Vivendi Sells 10% Stake in Universal Music Group to Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square

Earlier this month, Vivendi confirmed talks to sell the 10% stake in Universal Music Group to Pershing Square Tontine Holdings in a deal that values the music company at €35 billion ($42B).
French media giant Vivendi has reached a deal to sell a 10% stake in Universal Music Group to hedge fund billionaire Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square in a deal that values the music company at more than $42 billion.
Universal operates labels responsible for artists including Ariana Grande, The Beatles, Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, and Nirvana.
15. According to Vivendi, the agreement will be finalized by Sept.
In a statement Sunday, Vivendi said, “After the 20% equity stake acquired by the Consortium led by the Tencent group, the arrival of major American investors provides further evidence of UMG’s global success and attractiveness,” Vivendi said in a statement. “As announced, the transaction is based on an enterprise value of 35 billion euros for 100% of UMG’s share capital.”” />
The transaction comes ahead of Vivendi's plans to list Universal Music Group in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in late September, when 60% of Universal’s shares will be distributed to Vivendi investors.

Universal Music Group Sued By Estates Of Tom Petty, Tupac And Others Over Fire Losses

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While publicly pooh-poohing the losses, the suit claims UMG made insurance claims valued at $150 million, a sum affected musicians are entitled to share.
UMG has characterized the Times investigation as inaccurate, but has not responded yet to the lawsuit.
A lawsuit by prominent musicians against Universal Music Group stemming from a fire that destroyed their master recordings is seeking class action status and in excess of $100 million in damages.
The 2008 fire affected hundreds of thousands of master recordings and unreleased music and other materials. UMG is the world's largest recording company and had works ranging back to Louis Armstrong as well as more modern materials. UMG downplayed the effects, but an investigation by the New York Times discovered the actual damages.
The Universal Music Group has been expanding its reach into TV and film, and recently signed a multi-year first-look TV deal with Lionsgate. Under that deal,  Lionsgate and Polygram Entertainment, UMG’s film and television production and development division, will develop original scripted and unscripted TV projects drawn from UMG’s labels, artists and music.
In addition, UMG will produce soundtrack albums associated with projects created under the deal. The label roster includes Capitol, Def Jam, Interscope, Island, Republic, Universal Music Nashville, Universal Music Latin Entertainment, Verve, Motown and Blue Note.
After the fire, the suit states, "UMG concealed the loss with false public statements, such as that 'we only lost a small number of tapes and other material by obscure artists from the 1940s and 50s.' "
The suit was filed in US Central District Court in Los Angeles by the law firms King, Holmes, Paterno & Soriano; McPherson LLP; and Susman Godfrey LLP. Plaintiffs include the estates of Tom Petty and Tupac Shakur, the bands Hole and Soundgarden, and singer-songwriter Steve Earle.
The lawsuit declared that UMG breached its contract with the affected musicians by failing to archive materials properly. Instead, the works were kept "in an inadequate, substandard storage warehouse located on the backlot of Universal Studios that was a known firetrap."

Ron Howard Teases Upcoming Pavarotti Movie At Buyer Event, Reveals Release Plans — AFM

He also had a tremendous commitment and selflessness which is worth celebrating. It was almost an athletic achievement what he accomplished through performance. He had a great gift but that wasn't all. At a time like this, today, that is a story worth reminding people about." The demands of his art-form were remarkable. He had charm, charisma, he chose to live his life in a state of appreciation and excitement and joy about what the world had to offer. Howard told us after the private presentation, "It's impossible to imagine that this kid would wind up as Pavarotti. That's very inspiring.
The director's enthusiasm for his opera singer subject and stirring footage impressed buyers we spoke to. Howard, HanWay Films and producer Nigel Sinclair (Rush) hosted two busy buyer presentations for the film at the Shutters On The Beach hotel.
Producer Sinclair, who collaborated with Howard on Rush and documentary The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years revealed to us, "After the Beatles movie we showed performances from the famous Shea Stadium concert. The film will also have an event element to it, a smart addition at a time when event cinema is booming. That will be part of the buyers' package on the movie." With Pavarotti, which will be mixed in Dolby Atmos, we're going to include three classic Pavarotti arias after the movie so audiences who have enjoyed the film can then sit and listen to three of his beautiful performances.
As for Howard, his next narrative feature remains unknown but he and Imagine are currently developing a host of hot projects for film and TV, including features Hillbilly Elegy and Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book for Disney.” />
He was also known for his charity and philanthropical work. He would go on to become a cultural and global icon, selling more than 100M records, known for his legendary performances of Nessun Dorma, which became a theme for the 1990 World Cup. He passed in 2007. The famed Italian tenor, who came from humble roots and initially wanted to be a soccer goalkeeper, was struck down by a life-threatening illness at a young age. Howard enthused to buyers on multiple occasions, "Pavarotti's life was an opera".
Currently in post-production, it is due to be ready next year. Pic is being made by Universal Music Group’s Polygram Entertainment, Decca Records (the singer’s lifelong record label), Imagine Entertainment and White Horse Pictures. HanWay and Sinclair's White Horse are selling at the AFM.
The doc biopic will feature memorable performances, including classic songs from Pavarotti's Three Tenors days, previously unseen footage and talking heads including his widow Nicoletta and U2 frontman Bono. The project has buy-in from Pavarotti's family and estate.
Multi-Oscar winner Ron Howard was at the American Film Market in Los Angeles this morning to stir up buyer interest in his upcoming Luciano Pavarotti documentary, Pavarotti.