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Vivendi's Universal Music Group attracts more investors, CEO says

More investors expressed interest in acquiring a minority stake in Vivendi SA's music subsidiary Universal Music Group Inc.

In an Oct. 17 earnings call, Vivendi management board Chairman and CEO Arnaud Roy de Puyfontaine said "other partners" are keen on investing at a price similar to the French media group's potential deal with Tencent Holdings Ltd.

Vivendi is in talks with the Chinese internet giant for the sale of up to a 20% stake in Universal Music, valuing the latter's entire equity capital at €30 billion. The deal, subject to confirmatory due diligence and completion of legal documents, is expected to be completed by end-2019, according to De Puyfontaine.

As part of a potential agreement, Tencent would have one-year call options to buy an additional 10% at the same price and terms, De Puyfontaine added.

The Vivendi CEO noted that the company is seeking strategic partners to help speed up Universal Music's growth momentum amid a "reinvention" of the music industry. Vivendi is reportedly looking to sell up to a 50% of its stake in Universal Music. The company plans to use the sale's proceeds for share buybacks and bolt-on acquisitions, De Puyfontaine said.

For the third quarter of 2019, Vivendi reported a 16.7% revenue increase to €3.97 billion, with an organic growth of 7.2%. Universal Music's revenues, meanwhile, increased by 20.4% to €1.80 billion during the quarter.