European Shares Bounce After Worst Session in Two Months; UMG Soars in Debut

The pan-European STOXX 600 was up 0.9% by 07:43 GMT after sinking to a two-month low in the previous session.

Media, mining and energy stocks led early gains, while Germany’s DAX rebounded from its lowest level since late-July.

U.S. stock futures also bounced a day after global markets were roiled by concerns the potential default by Evergrande, the world’s biggest property developer, could hurt China’s real estate sector, banks and the global economy.

Evergrande, struggling for cash, owes $305 billion.

Focus this week is also on policy meetings at a slate of central banks, including the U.S. Federal Reserve, with investors expecting some of them to indicate they were ready to ease their pandemic-era stimulus to combat high inflation.

“Concerns about Evergrande remain but for now there appears to be a wait-and-see approach being adopted,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK.

“The bigger question given the risks from events in China is whether the Fed adopts a less hawkish stance tomorrow in order to buy itself some time until the situation becomes clearer.”

Europe’s benchmark STOXX 600 has fallen from record highs in September after seven straight months of gains on fears of persistently high COVID-19 cases and signs of a slowdown in the global economic recovery.

However, helping sentiment on Tuesday, travel-related stocks including British Airways-owner IAG, cruiseliner Carnival Corp and InterContinental Hotels Group jumped between 2% and 5% following the relaxation of U.S. travel curbs.

Britain’s National Express rose 4% after rival Stagecoach Group said it was in talks with National Express about a possible all-share merger.

Stagecoach’s shares jumped 17.3%.

Universal Music Group, the business behind singers such as Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift and The Weeknd, surged 38% in its first day of trading, giving it a market capitalisation of more than 46 billion euros ($54 billion).

Shares of owner Vivendi sank 16.7%.

Sweden’s gardening power tools group Husqvarna tumbled 5.4% after warning it could potentially lose top line sales of up to around 2 billion crowns ($230.7 million) due to a supplier dispute.

All major European bourses were up in morning trading, with the UK’s FTSE 100, Spain’s IBEX and Italy’s FTSE MIB gaining between 0.7% and 0.9%.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

(Reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

Universal Music Valued Around $39 Billion Ahead of Stock Market Debut

France’s Vivendi is spinning off Universal and on Monday set a reference price for the listing at 18.5 euros per share, according to a statement issued by Euronext.

Universal Music Group’s (UMG) listing will be Europe’s largest this year and will hand 60% of shares to Vivendi shareholders.

Universal is betting that a boom in streaming led by Spotify that has fuelled royalty revenue and profit growth for several years still has a long way to run, in a music industry it dominates along with Warner and Sony Music, part of Sony Group Corp.

Its flotation carries high stakes for Canal+ owner Vivendi, which hopes to rid itself of a conglomerate discount. However, the listing raises questions about Vivendi’s strategy once it parts ways with its cash cow, in which it will retain only a 10% stake.

Several high-profile investors have also already snapped up large Universal stakes, banking in part on the group’s back catalogue, which includes the likes of Bob Dylan and the Beatles. They also hope deals with ad-supported software and social media platforms such as Alphabet Inc’s YouTube and TikTok will sustain its performance and valuation.

U.S. billionaire William Ackman suffered a setback when his attempt to invest in Universal via a special purpose acquisition vehicle (SPAC) hit a snag with regulators and investors. However, Ackman still got a 10% stake via his Pershing Square hedge fund. China’s Tencent owns 20% of Universal.

One winner in the listing will be Vincent Bollore, the French media tycoon who is Vivendi’s controlling shareholder. He will receive Universal shares worth 6 billion euros at Monday’s price.

Bollore has been an aggressive consolidator in France’s media and publishing landscape, and he has a long-held ambition to build up a southern European media powerhouse.

Vivendi itself may suffer in the short run, however, and shares are expected to fall Tuesday as they begin trading without Universal.

BNP Paribas, Natixis, Credit Agricole, Morgan Stanley and Societe Generale are the lead financial advisers on the deal, out of 17 banks in total — an unusually large total.

The fee pot is expected to be below standard listings as no fresh cash is being raised as part of the spin-off.

Universal said in its prospectus that the overall expenses to be paid in relation to the Universal deal would not go beyond 0.5% of the total amount of the share distribution.

The listing is the latest win for Euronext in Amsterdam, which has grown as a financial centre in the wake of Britain’s departure from the European Union. Before Universal, Amsterdam had attracted a record 14 IPOs so far this year, of which 10 were SPACs.

But the only Amsterdam listing of a size comparable to Universal in recent history was the 95 billion euro listing of technology investor Prosus, also a spin-off, in September 2019.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

($1 = 0.8524 euros)

(Additional reporting by Toby Sterling; Writing by Sarah White; Editing by David Evans and Lisa Shumaker)

Marketmind: When the Dragon Sneezes, Europe Catches a Cold

A look at the day ahead from Danilo Masoni.

The STOXX 600 index has fallen 1% so far in September, twice as much world stocks, and while Europe broadly is still in favour with investors and research analysts, the index has slipped all the way down to July lows.

Wall Street’s strength overnight could trigger a relief bounce this morning, but the China woes are far from over.

The worsening crisis at China’s No. 2 property developer Evergrande has sent its shares to decade lows, pushed Asian stock markets to their fourth day of losses. Trading in Evergrande bonds has been suspended. And virus outbreaks are clouding travel plans during next week’s Mid-Autumn Festival.

Europe Inc faces internal woes too. Soaring power prices have prompted Spain to cap energy bills and Italy said on Thursday it plans “short-term measures” to offset the price rises. Worries are other governments could resort to similar measures — at the expense of utility firms.

There’s some market support from signs U.S. inflation has peaked and the world’s biggest economy is in robust shape. Retail sales will be eyed later on for more clues on the health of the world’s largest economy.

Key developments that should provide more direction to markets on Thursday:

Japan’s hot exports growth cools as COVID-19 hits supply chains

Philip Morris seals deal to buy UK’s Vectura with 75% stake tendered; French utility Veolia launches 2.5 bln euro capital increase[nL1N2QI0D1; Vivendi paves way for Lagardere takeover

German car registrations Aug

ECB Speakers: Christine Lagarde

Norges Bank Governor Oystein Olsen speaks

Egypt central bank meeting

U.S. weekly jobless claims/Philly Fed September

U.S. Retail sales/business inventories

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

(Reporting by Danilo Masoni; editing by Sujata Rao)

 

Universal Valued at $40 Billion, More than Parent Vivendi

(This May 12 story corrects to read 1.1 billion in paragraph 8)

By Mathieu Rosemain

In documents released ahead of Vivendi’s general meeting scheduled in June, the group went into the details of the prepared listing of Universal, which will see the group controlled by billionaire Vincent Bollore distribute 60% of Universal’s capital to its current shareholders.

The transaction is aimed at extracting the most value from Universal, the world’s biggest music label and home to singers such as Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift, as the music industry rebounds from a long downturn thanks to streaming revenues, driven by music platforms Spotify and the like.

Universal’s 33 billion-euro valuation was determined by accounting firms PwC and EY. This means the 60% stake distributed to Vivendi’s shareholders is worth 19.8 billion euros.

Universal’s parent company has a market value of 32 billion euros, according to Refinitiv data.

At the end of the IPO process, Universal’s three biggest shareholders would be Vivendi (20%), the Tencent-led consortium (20%) and Bollore (16%).

In its documents, Vivendi said that Universal was drawing interest from potential investors and that it could sell some of its 20% stake to a “strategic partner” ahead of the distribution of Universal’s shares. It added that its intention was to keep at least a 10% stake in the company for a long period of time.

There will be about 1.1 billion Universal shares distributed to Vivendi’s shareholders, according to the documents. Dividing the valuation corresponding to 60% of Universal by the exact number of shares gives a price per Universal share of 18.2 euros.

The French conglomerate outlined plans in February to distribute 60% of Universal’s capital to its current shareholders via a listing in Amsterdam, ending years of questions about Bollore’s will to list the asset, whose operational earnings represent more than half of the all group.

Vivendi also outlined the calendar of Universal’s initial public offering (IPO), setting a Sept. 27 deadline for the listing of the shares in Amsterdam.

The Paris-based group also disclosed the first-quarter financial earnings of Universal. Universal generated earnings before interest and income taxes (EBIT) of 322 million euros over the first three months of the year, up from 248 million euros the year before.

(Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain; Editing by Hugh Lawson)