Activist investor Third Point has built a stake in Vivendi, a media group controlled by French billionaire Vincent Bolloré, as a shareholder vote on a plan to launch Universal Music Group.
A well-known New York hedge fund led by Daniel Loeb has built a “prominent” position in the French media conglomerate in recent months, a source familiar with the fund said.
Vivendi said he had no information about participation at this stage.
Third Point declined to comment on its intention to use its shares. His investment came when Vivendi reached an agreement to sell his stake in Universal Music to Bill Ackman’s white check company. If Loeb were to oppose the deal, it would pit the two titans of the investment world against each other.
Pershing Square Tontine Holdings, a special purpose purchase company created by Ackman. he said at the beginning of the month He was in talks to buy a 10% stake in Universal Music, a record label for artists such as Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift, for about $ 4.1 billion.
The deal would cost Universal more than $ 40 billion. However, unlike the traditional Wide mergers, would not take the group public. Vivendi intends to expand Universal Music and distribute 60% of the group’s share capital to investors. Universal would then be listed on Euronext Amsterdam in the third quarter of 2021.
Vivendi shareholders will vote on the Universal Music distribution on June 22nd. Some investors, including Bluebell hedge fund activists, have already expressed concerns about the proposal.
Marco Taricco, founder of Bluebell, with little stake in Vivendi, said in his time that the rating is “modest.” Bluebell sent two letters to Vivendi in May about separating the group’s largest asset.
The London-based fund said the spin-off was a good idea in principle, but questioned the structure, known as a dividend, which said minority shareholders would have significant tax bills. Bluebell has asked Vivendi to pay its shareholders an additional extra dividend of about 3.3 million euros.
Artisan Partners, another shareholder in Vivendi, has come out against the proposed deal with Ackman, explaining Bluebell’s concerns about the tax bill created as a result of the distribution of shares.
If shareholders split the distribution of shares at the meeting next week, Ackman could jeopardize his plans to invest in Universal Music.
Vivendi only needs a mere 50 percent majority to accept the Universal separation. Bolloré, whose holding company has a 27 per cent stake in Vivendi, effectively controls the group with 29.73 per cent of the voting rights.