Daily Mail

UK music mogul is set for £100m in Universal float

- By Lucy White

THE BRITISH boss of Universal Music Group is set to scoop a bonus worth more than £100m as the company floats on the stock market.

Music mogul Sir Lucian Grainge will rake in around £104m if he pulls off the listing in Amsterdam this month, according to documents published yesterday.

This is on top of a pay package worth up to £30.4m.

Grainge was handed £15m last February after orchestrat­ing the sale of 20pc of Universal to a group of investors led by Chinese internet giant Tencent, and is set to pocket a similar bonus this month after selling 10pc to Pershing Square, the hedge fund led by US billionair­e Bill Ackman.

And he will benefit from a long-term incentive plan, which the company has yet to decide. Universal also revealed that Grainge is ‘entitled to the use of a car, with a driver, for business and reasonable private use’.

The investor prospectus added: ‘Sir Lucian is provided with the use of a chartered or private aircraft for business purposes, subject to requiring prior approval for any such usage in excess of €410,000 per annum.’

Grainge, 61, has spent his entire career in the music industry, working with stars from Amy Winehouse to the Rolling Stones. He joined Universal in 1986 and helped launch record label Polygram, which became one of the UK’s top three music publishers in just five years.

By 2011, the Londoner who now lives in Los Angeles with his wife Caroline, had worked his way up to becoming the chairman and chief executive. In his first year in charge, he orchestrat­ed the rescue of beleaguere­d music giant EMI following its bruising period under the ownership of private equity firm Terra Firma.

Now Universal, whose roots trace back to 1934, looks after music from the likes of Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish and Take That. The company, which has been majority-owned by French media giant Vivendi since 2000, is set to float in Amsterdam next week with an estimated value of £28bn.

Vivendi’s major shareholde­r, Vincent Bollore, will be left holding around £5bn worth of Universal stock, as it hands out around 60pc of Universal’s shares to its own investors. Vivendi has been under pressure to spin out Universal for several years, as analysts said the music business was worth more than Vivendi’s share price implied.

The initial public offering (IPO) has now ignited speculatio­n about what Bollore, and Vivendi, will do with the windfall.

The deal will also represent a healthy payday for Pershing Square, whose 10pc stake in Universal will be worth around £2.8bn. The consortium led by Tencent will keep its 20pc stake worth £5.6bn.

Last year, Universal raked in revenues of £6.3bn, and made a profit of £1.2bn.

It now makes its money from royalty sources including digital downloads and streaming, sales of CDs or vinyl records, live performanc­es and the use of its music on TV shows or adverts.

In the early 2000s, record labels struggled as they lost money to digital piracy – but streaming services such as Spotify and Youtube have changed the game, as consumers are ready to pay for access to songs.

After the EMI acquisitio­n, which saw artists such as the Beatles, Katy Perry and Robbie Williams come under Universal’s umbrella, the company snapped up catalogues from a number of other artists – and under Grainge’s watch, its value has increased from £4bn to £28bn.

 ??  ?? Star power: Sir Lucian Grainge with Taylor Swift
Star power: Sir Lucian Grainge with Taylor Swift

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