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Vivendi Chief Will Let Peter Schoenfeld Split Company ‘Over My Dead Body’

P. Schoenfeld Asset Management thinks the current structure without a spin off will continue to obscure revenue growth

Peter Schoenfeld Asset Management Bloomberg


Vivendi to take full advantage of the revenue boost provided by streaming by spinning off Universal Music Group (UMG), but Vivendi CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine said such a thing will happen, “over my dead body, ” according to the Financial Times.

French-owned Vivendi runs UMG, and together, the company has 30% of the U.S. music market and a good share of the European market. Peter Schoenfeld Assets Management (PSAM) thinks growth for the company will be “obscured” as long as it stays together in one unit. Streaming can increase revenues dramatically for music companies, but PSAM warns that “Google, Apple and independent services such as Spotify cannot be viable streaming services without a rights agreement from UMG, ” which can be more easily secured if it is an independent company, according to the FT.

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Although Vivendi’s management rejects the proposed spinoff, a source close to the company said Liberty may be a prospective buyer. The company rejected an $8.5 billion takeover bid from Softbank. PSAM also recommends raising the dividend, but Vivendi said its dividend policy was “well balanced.” PSAM, which owns 0.8 percent of the company has been disappointed with the company’s performance and the perceived stubborness of Vivendi’s board and management.



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