Investors Tune in as Universal Leaps on Market Debut

By Reuters
September 21, 2021 Updated: September 21, 2021

Universal Music Group’s shares leapt more than a third in their stock market debut on Tuesday as investors bet a boom in music streaming still has a long way to run.

The world’s biggest music label, which represents musicians and song catalogs from Billie Eilish to The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan, saw its market value leap to almost 47 billion euros ($55 billion) in Europe’s largest listing of the year.

Universal’s shares were trading at 25.70 euros by 7:30 a.m. GMT, up by around 39 percent compared to its reference price of 18.50 euros.

Part of its business derives from the rights attached to its huge catalog, and it also collects royalties for the artists it represents across social media platforms and in far-flung places.

The COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns hit live concerts and Universal’s merchandising business, but ad-supported revenues have picked up after a blip.

Its flotation carries high stakes for Canal+ owner Vivendi, which hopes in the longer run to rid itself of a conglomerate discount that it believes has weighed on its shares.

Universal has grown revenue for six years in a row. It has forecast revenue growth of at least 10 percent this year and in the high single digits after that.