Liberty Media head John Malone reportedly made an overture to Vincent Bolloré, the chairman and biggest shareholder of Vivendi, expressing an interest in acquiring Universal Music Group. According to the New York Post, Bolloré, who owns an 8% stake in Vivendi, showed little interest in the deal and has in the past, called for Vivendi to expand its media holdings.
Vivendi also rejected an $8.5 billion all-cash for Universal from Japanese telecom giant Softbank in 2013, which, at the time, represented about a 25% premium on Universal’s estimated value, so any offer from Liberty would likely require a greater commitment.
“They would have to pay an astronomical number,” one unnamed source told the Post.
Universal artists include Taylor Swift, Sam Smith and U2, but posted a decline in revenue of almost 7% in 2014, driven by the headwinds against physical sales. – via CelebrityAccess