Bill Ackman's long-awaited SPAC deal for 10% of Universal Music reportedly faces pushback

Bill Ackman's long-awaited SPAC deal for 10% of Universal Music reportedly faces pushback
Bryan Bedder/Getty Images/The New York Times
  • Bill Ackman's SPAC deal to buy 10% of Universal Music Group is reportedly facing pushback.
  • The resistance, according to Bloomberg, is coming from Artisan Partners, a large shareholder of Vivendi, which Ackman's SPAC is buying the stake from.
  • "Selling off pieces of UMG to other investors in return for cash is a sub-optimal capital allocation decision," Artisan said.

Bill Ackman's eagerly anticipated SPAC deal to buy 10% of Universal Music Group is reportedly facing pushback, Bloomberg reported.

Ackman's Pershing Square Tontine Holdings is looking to acquire the stake from Vivendi, a French media conglomerate. Vivendi then plans to list UMG on the Euronext Amsterdam exchange in the third quarter of 2021.
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But Artisan Partners, a shareholder of Vivendi, is said to be against the sale, raising questions on what will happen ahead of the shareholders meeting on June 22.
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"Selling off pieces of UMG to other investors in return for cash is a sub-optimal capital allocation decision," David Samra, Artisan portfolio manager, told Bloomberg. "We would prefer that Vivendi spin off its entire ownership of UMG to the shareholders in a tax-efficient manner."

He added: "Placing a tax burden on the shareholders of Vivendi through the de-merger process is unattractive. We believe management should find a tax-friendly solution."

The deal with UMG would be the largest SPAC transaction on record, according to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news. It would have an enterprise value of about $42 billion.
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Ackman beat out other rivals for the stake including private equity group Hellman & Friedman.

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