Shares of Universal Music, whose lineup features The Beatles and Taylor Swift, soared on the label's stock market debut on Tuesday, bolstering confidence in one of the largest IPOs in recent years. The music giant was floated by its owner, French media giant Vivendi, with shares jumping from a debut price of €18.50 to over $29 on the Euronext Amsterdam index.
The world's biggest label, with a catalogue of four million titles, was valued at $39 billion on the eve of its market introduction. Shares of Vivendi, by contrast, sank by more than 15 per cent on the Paris CAC 40 stock exchange as the media company offloaded a majority stake of its crown jewel. Vivendi is owned by French billionaire Vincent Bollore, who has positioned himself as a powerful right-wing media baron in recent years. Although Vivendi retained a chunk of Universal Music, it is looking to focus more on TV, advertising and publishing. Universal Music, like its rivals Warner and Sony, was once threatened by music piracy but profits have soared in the age of streaming. - AFP