Universal Music Group may be looking at significant changes going forward, with the news that its parent company Vivendi has made a US$2.5 billion bid for a 60% stake in Parisian ad agency Havas in an effort to strengthen its position in the market.
But, while the acquisition would go a long way towards bolstering Vivendi’s marketing, design and communications efforts – and secure Universal’s future in the process – there are a few unusual wrinkles to this particular deal.
As Music Business Worldwide reports, the shares in question are currently owned by majority stakeholder Bolloré Group which, interestingly enough, is run by Vivendi’s chairman and 20%+ shareholder Vincent Bolloré.
With 30% voting rights in Vivendi making him its most powerful voice, he is effectively steering the ship towards another of his companies. Adding to the soap opera-esque affair is the fact that Bolloré’s son Yannick is, in fact, the CEO of Havas Group.
Despite these potential issues the offer appears to be a sound one, with Vivendi offering an 8.8% premium on the shares’ closing price. As detailed by MBW, if the deal is completed as anticipated by July, Vivendi will then seek to pick up the remaining 40% from other listed shareholders.
What sort of impact would this acquisition have on Universal? A presentation to Vivendi shareholders reportedly explains the company’s three-pronged approach, adding that “The proposed acquisition will enable Vivendi to strengthen all of its businesses at a time of profound transformation.”