Vivendi shares rise as UMG stake sale attracts interest

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PARIS (Reuters) – Shares in French media group Vivendi (PA:) jumped on Friday after it posted higher third-quarter revenue and said that a potential sale of a stake in its Universal Music Group (UMG) was attracting buyer interest.

Vivendi shares were up 2.7% in early trading, the best performer on France’s benchmark CAC-40 index (), which was down 0.7%.

“Group trading continues to track well, but we view the major catalyst for share price upside in the short term to be further sell down of UMG,” wrote brokerage Liberum, which kept a “buy” rating on Vivendi.

Investors in addition to China’s Tencent Holdings (HK:) have shown interest in buying a minority stake in Universal, Vivendi said late on Thursday.

Universal, the music label of Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande and the Beatles, was the main sales growth driver for Vivendi in the third quarter.

The Paris-based group, controlled by French billionaire Vincent Bollore, aims to cash in on a music industry revival, driven by a growing thirst for subscription and advertising-based streaming services.

The company said it was still in talks with Tencent for a sale of up to 20% of Universal, which could value the division at about 30 billion euros ($33.4 billion). Due diligence and legal documentation on the Universal sale is expected to be completed in the coming weeks, Vivendi added.

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