Ackman Music Deal Spurs Pushback From Vivendi Shareholder

Vivendi SE shareholder Artisan Partners is opposing the company’s plan to sell bits of its prized asset, Universal Music Group, including a proposed deal with a blank-check firm backed by billionaire Bill Ackman.

The move adds pressure on Vincent Bollore’s French media group before shareholders are set to meet on June 22 to vote on a plan to spin off 60{1a2a5022a52b7f44d3c003be9afa129e2349806f3225e736ca8b1c4309d27447} of the world’s biggest music company.

“Selling off pieces of UMG to other investors in return for cash is a sub-optimal capital allocation decision,” Artisan portfolio manager David Samra said in a statement to Bloomberg. “We would prefer that Vivendi spin off its entire ownership of UMG to the shareholders in a tax efficient manner.”

Artisan also called the plan to distribute UMG shares to Vivendi stockholders tax inefficient, echoing objections from activist investor Bluebell Capital Partners, which has asked France’s financial market regulator to investigate the spinoff plan.