Shares of Universal Music Group soared more than 35 percent in the company’s stock market debut in Europe’s largest listing of the year to date.
The world’s biggest record label, which represents musicians like Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift and Billie Eilish, traded around $29.32 a share Tuesday morning, which was more than 35 percent above the reference price of $21.70 per share.
The rally gives Universal, which listed on the Euronext Amsterdam stock exchange, a valuation of nearly $55 billion.
In June, the company’s parent, French media group Vivendi, won the backing of shareholders to spin off Universal, which is considered its crown jewel. As a result, 60 percent of Universal’s shares will go to Vivendi shareholders— with Vivendi boss and controlling shareholder Vincent Bolloré nabbing a stake worth roughly $6.9 billion.
Other big winners from the Amsterdam listing include hedge fund billionaire Bill Ackman, whose fund Pershing Square owns a 10 percent stake, and China’s Tencent, which owns a 20 percent stake in Universal.
Universal chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge will also get bonuses linked to the listing that, according to Reuters, could add up to as much as $400 million.
Universal, which is the largest music company in the world, dominating rivals Warner Music Group and Sony Music, owns and runs businesses in more than 60 countries.
The label, which boasts of contemporary artists like Ariana Grande and Drake, as well as a back catalogue from iconic musicians like The Beatles and Bob Dylan, has a blockbuster portfolio that is attractive to investors.
What’s more, in recent years, the company has focused its strategy on the booming music streaming sector, which it expects to boost royalty revenue and profits for years to come.
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