Drake performs during the Aubrey and The Three Migos Tour on Aug. 21, 2018 in Toronto, Canada.
Deutsche Bank analysts are bullish on the world’s largest record label. The Frankfurt-based financial giant has raised Universal Music Group’s value to €29 billion ($33.3 billion), up considerably from its last assessment (€20 billion) and higher still than UMG’s own parent company, Vivendi, which has a current market cap of €28.3B ($32.3 billion).
Still, the $33.3 billion valuation is less than the $40 billion figure Vivendi put on UMG in 2017, ahead of its decision last summer to sell up to 50 percent of the label group, which includes such imprints as Capitol, Republic, Def Jam and Interscope, among others. Potential suitors include Liberty Media, which said it would “absolutely” be interested, and China’s Tencent, as well as other deep-pocketed international wealth funds.
Deutche Bank cites other potential buyers as well, including tech giants with footholds in the music business, namely Alphabet (Google/YouTube), Amazon, Apple and Facebook.
“With the hype around UMG stake sale having subsided, there is now scope for valuation to surprise to the upside in 2H 2019,” said Deutsche Bank in its report.
As previously reported, Vivendi is putting UMG on the market at a time when both buyers and sellers of music rights stand to profit, with most analysts forecasting the industry to continue growing briskly at least for the next one to two years as more consumers sign up for streaming subscriptions.
UMG is coming off another successful year, thanks in part to a roster that includes Drake, Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift and J. Balvin. On Billboard’s year-end charts, the label group held six of the top 10 songs and six of the top 10 albums, and on Spotify, UMG artists were responsible for the year’s top five tracks overall.
In his year-end message to employees, UMG chairman Lucian Grainge did not mention the potential partial sale of the company, but did predict “continued support” from its parent company.
“Looking ahead to 2019, we will accelerate and globally scale the key innovations we’ve been making,” Grainge said. “And, with the continued support of Vincent Bolloré and the Vivendi Management Board, we have been given the resources and backing we need to further drive our transformation.”