|Bid||0.00 x 0|
|Ask||0.00 x 0|
|Day's Range||28.13 - 28.48|
|52 Week Range||23.27 - 29.97|
|Beta (3Y Monthly)||0.72|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||25.76|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||0.56 (1.98%)|
|1y Target Est||37.00|
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- At first glance, Entertainment One Ltd. and Hasbro Inc. make for ideal bedfellows. The former makes kids TV hit Peppa Pig, the latter is the world’s biggest toymaker. Merge one with the other and you get a combined video and merchandising giant.That’s why there’s sound strategic rationale for Hasbro’s planned 3.3 billion-pound ($4 billion) acquisition of the Toronto-based studio. It gets its trotters on some valuable kids’ franchises that it can turn into more toys, and it can use eOne’s TV and film production chops to exploit its own catalog of games, which span from Monopoly to Buckaroo! to Jenga.Hasbro has a decent if not stellar track record of turning its game franchises into films. The Transformers and G.I. Joe movies have done well at the box office, though no one would accuse them of being critical successes.That’s where reservations about the eOne deal come in. While it might be known as the firm behind Peppa Pig, the cartoon represents just 10% of its total revenue. The company’s family and brands business is expanding quickly, but its film and television division, which has made films such as Green Book and TV shows including The Walking Dead, contributes more sales and profit. It has something that Hasbro lacks: prestige.Darren Throop, the eOne chief executive, prides himself on the quality of the film and TV productions. It’s easy to see how eOne stalwarts might find the prospect of churning out spinoffs from Hasbro’s board games and toys hard to stomach. Sure, the deal logic holds up on paper: 130 million pounds of anticipated synergies by 2022 could lead to returns from the deal nearing 8% based on analyst earnings forecasts, just about covering the cost of capital. And that's before any upside from selling more toys or making more films.But are these firms as good a cultural fit as they insist? That might be the biggest hurdle to realizing the deal’s potential. That’s assuming it even completes. Right now, that’s in doubt. The stock traded as high as 5.90 pounds on Friday, above Hasbro’s 5.60 pounds-per-share bid, suggesting investors anticipate either an activist pushing the purchase price higher, or a counterbidder sticking their snout in. Rivals might include the Walt Disney Co., John Malone’s Liberty Global Plc, Vincent Bollore’s Vivendi SA, Comcast Corp. or even toymaking rival Mattel Inc.The plethora of competing TV and film streaming services has sparked a fight for high-quality content, and eOne has some of the best, helped by relationships with Steven Spielberg, with whom it has a production joint venture, and super-producer Mark Gordon.Disney expanded from a production company into a merchandising and theme park giant, and its success under CEO Bob Iger has been built around recognizable franchises such as Star Wars, Marvel and Pixar’s output. Hasbro is making a play to do the same but in the opposite direction. High-quality content is increasingly scarce and expensive, though. That might make eOne an equally tasty morsel for someone else.To contact the author of this story: Alex Webb at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Boxell at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Alex Webb is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Europe's technology, media and communications industries. He previously covered Apple and other technology companies for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and French billionaire Vincent Bollore are locking horns again in a battle to lead the southern European charge against Netflix Inc. Bollore, who controls media conglomerate Vivendi SA, lost the first round against Berlusconi in 2017. He’s well positioned to do better in the second. Think of it as a European version of HBO’s hit show “Succession,” where a rival takes on an aging but still powerful media baron. The two tycoons are sparring over the future of Mediaset SpA, the Italian broadcaster that Berlusconi founded and controls. The Milan-based company plans to merge with Spanish affiliate Mediaset Espana Comunicacion SA and redomicile in the Netherlands. The move will consolidate the control that Berlusconi, 82, and his family, through investment vehicle Fininvest, have by giving them extra voting rights in the new company, which will be called MediaForEurope.It’s a prospect that Bollore, 67, must be loath to countenance. Vivendi owns 29% of Mediaset and plans to oppose the deal in a shareholder vote Sept. 4 since it will further diminish its influence, Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday. While Berlusconi needs a two-thirds majority to approve the merger, Vivendi may only be able to exercise 9.6% of the voting rights because most of its shares sit in an independent trust as a result of a 2017 reprimand from the Italian regulator -- Bollore’s initial defeat by Berlusconi. Luckily Vivendi has another lever it might exercise. The deal will fall through if shareholders owning more than 180 million euros of stock exercise a withdrawal right, whereby Mediaset has to pay investors opposing the merger a set price for their shares. Even if Vivendi were only to exercise the rights on its 9.6% direct stake, that would top 300 million euros, potentially scuppering Berlusconi’s plans.It might just give Bollore the leverage he needs to realize a long-held goal: creating a southern European content champion that can better compete with Netflix. Doing so would likely mean selling the stake at a loss, but the threat could force Berlusconi back to the negotiating table to forge some sort of alliance to pool Vivendi and Mediaset content. After all, the merger of the two Mediasets in Italy and Spain has a similar intention, to create a new video content giant.That’s how Bollore ended up with a stake in Mediaset to begin with. Back in 2016, he pulled out of a deal to buy Berlusconi’s Mediaset Premium (the pay TV arm that has since been sold to Comcast Inc.’s Sky unit) for some 800 million euros, instead buying up shares in the parent firm. Since Vivendi is also the biggest shareholder in Telecom Italia SpA, Italy’s communications regulator made the French firm forfeit most of its Mediaset voting rights, saying that the dual stakes breached rules concerning concentration of media and telecoms ownership.Bollore has been left with stakes in two Italian companies worth a combined 3.2 billion euros, but over which he has little influence. He also suffered a galling defeat at the hands of activist Elliott Management Corp. for control of Telecom Italia last year. He now has an opportunity to salvage some of the plans that first got him into this mess.To contact the author of this story: Alex Webb at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephanie Baker at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Alex Webb is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Europe's technology, media and communications industries. He previously covered Apple and other technology companies for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Mediaset has filed a complaint with Italy's market watchdog, accusing shareholder Vivendi of leaking information with a view to scuppering its corporate restructuring plans, the Italian broadcaster said on Thursday. Vivendi declined to comment. Mediaset in June announced plans to place its Italian and Spanish businesses under a Dutch holding company to pursue a pan-European growth strategy.
(Bloomberg) -- Mediaset SpA shareholder Vivendi SA plans to vote against the Italian TV company’s proposal to merge with its Spanish affiliate, according to people familiar with the matter, in a potential setback for the broadcaster’s ambition to create a European alliance. Mediaset investors will gather Sept. 4 to vote on a plan to create a Dutch-registered holding company to house the assets. The controlling shareholder, former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s family, wants other national broadcasters to invest in the new entity, which would collaborate on data platforms and advertising in response to the growing threat from Netflix Inc.The plan is overshadowed by a long-simmering conflict between the Berlusconis and Vivendi. The French media group sees the Dutch holding, dubbed Media For Europe, as a move by the family to cement its control over Mediaset, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are confidential.Whether Vivendi can block the merger is unclear. It holds around 29% of Mediaset and the vote needs a two-thirds majority to pass. However, most of Vivendi’s shares sit in an independent trust and it may only be able to vote using the remaining 9.6% of stock that it holds directly.A Vivendi spokesman declined to comment. A Mediaset representative said the company doesn’t comment on speculation based on anonymous and not official sources.Mediaset shares were down 0.5% as of 9:23 a.m. in Milan after falling as much as 1.3% at the open.If it loses next month’s vote, Vivendi will need to decide whether to tender its shares to the Dutch entity or sell out of Mediaset. That second option may be unappealing as Mediaset shares have been trading above the alternative cash buyout price of 2.77 euros ($3.07) offered to shareholders who don’t want the Dutch stock. The shares closed Tuesday trading at 2.95 euros in Milan.Even if the resolution does pass and Vivendi decides to remain a shareholder, its opposition to a cornerstone of Mediaset’s future strategy would only prolong the damaging feud.Mediaset Chief Executive Officer Pier Silvio Berlusconi said in July he didn’t expect Vivendi to withhold its participation in the new holding company.Vivendi found one potential ally on Tuesday when proxy advisory firm ISS said Mediaset shareholders should oppose the Dutch arrangement, saying it wasn’t “particularly attractive from a financial standpoint” and minorities would be worse off in terms of corporate governance.The Dutch structure may give extra voting rights to so-called “loyal” shareholders, an set-up that could allow the Berlusconis to maintain their control, ISS said.Still, another proxy advisory firm, Glass Lewis, said Mediaset shareholders should vote for the plan because the combined business would be more efficient.(Adds Mediaset shares in sixth paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Daniele Lepido in Milan at firstname.lastname@example.org;Tommaso Ebhardt in Milan at email@example.com;Geraldine Amiel in Paris at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Thomas Pfeiffer at email@example.com, Jennifer RyanFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Moody's Investors Service says that Tencent Holdings Limited's (A1 stable) potential investment of a 10% stake in Universal Music Group (UMG) at a preliminary valuation of E3 billion will not immediately impact Tencent's A1 issuer and senior unsecured ratings, or the stable ratings outlook. "Although the investment -- if completed -- is sizable, we do not expect it will affect Tencent's strong credit profile, in view of the company's strong operating cash flow and track record of prudent financial management," says Lina Choi, a Moody's Senior Vice President.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Vivendi SA’s seemingly discordant search for an investor in Universal Music Group seems finally to have struck a positive note.The French media conglomerate is in preliminary talks to sell a 10% stake in the world’s biggest record label to Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings Ltd., the Paris-based firm said on Tuesday. The deal would give the star asset – whose stable of artists include Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Kendrick Lamar and U2 – an equity valuation of 30 billion euros ($34 billion).The discussions come just over a year after Vivendi said it planned to sell as much as 50% of UMG: the process has been very much an adagio. An impending agreement will therefore be welcomed by shareholders.The tie-up makes a lot of sense for Vivendi, which is controlled by the billionaire Vincent Bollore. It highlights the underlying value of UMG and secures a new partner that might help it expand in China.Before Tuesday’s announcement, Vivendi’s total market capitalization was just 29 billion euros. A subsequent stock crescendo pushed that beyond the UMG valuation, but still implies that assets accounting for about 40% of profit – spanning the Canal+ broadcast group, Havas advertising agency, Gameloft video game studio, Editis publishing house and more – represent a far smaller fraction of the company’s overall value.The sticker price for UMG might be generous. Private equity investors had backed out earlier this year after balking at the price, Bloomberg News reported. Tencent’s offer is in the middle of the broad span of valuations for the business, which ranged from as little as 20 billion euros to as much as 44 billion euros. Still, for the Chinese giant, 3 billion euros is a negligible price to pay for a seat at the music industry’s top table and to secure preferential treatment as it expands into new markets. It has $26 billion in cash and analysts forecast $15 billion of free cash flow this year.Strategically, Tencent is a more useful partner for Vivendi than other mooted (if unlikely) investors: Apple Inc. or Alphabet Inc.’s Google. Asia represented just 13% of UMG’s 2018 sales – there’s plenty of room for growth. Tencent Music Entertainment Group, which the Chinese firm controls, owns some of the country’s biggest music streaming services.Vivendi is optimistic that Tencent, with its dominant social network and keen understanding of the Chinese market, can help it expand in the region. It will be interesting to see how or if that works in practice. And other strategic players from the tech industry might be dissuaded from investing now that Tencent is involved, particularly at the same valuation. The concern for investors might be that this deal is the apotheosis for UMG in terms of external investment. It’s well short of the target to sell up to half of the firm. Nonetheless, Vivendi's stock had pared gains this year, partly due to concern about finding any investor at all for the label. Tencent might let the tempo pick up again.\--With assistance from Tim Culpan.To contact the author of this story: Alex Webb at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephanie Baker at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Alex Webb is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Europe's technology, media and communications industries. He previously covered Apple and other technology companies for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Want the lowdown on European markets? In your inbox before the open, every day. Sign up here.Tencent Holdings Ltd. plans to buy 10% of Universal Music Group from Vivendi SA in a deal that would value the world’s biggest music company at $34 billion and help it tap fast-growing Asian markets.The discussions with China’s most valuable company will reinvigorate the French media giant’s efforts to find new partners for its most successful business. But they may also sound alarms in the U.S., the world’s biggest music market, amid a deepening trade war with China.A surge in subscription music streaming has revived the fortunes of big music labels in Western markets, and Universal is now looking for further growth. Vivendi said it’s discussing cooperation with Tencent and wants the Chinese company to promote Universal’s stable of artists -- including Drake, Taylor Swift and U2 -- and identify talent in new markets.“Tencent as a partner will boost UMG’s value because of the access it provides in China,” said Vey-Sern Ling, a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst based in Hong Kong. A purely financial investor may have to pay more than Tencent would pay for its stake, Ling said. The companies are discussing a deal that would value all of Universal Music at 30 billion euros ($34 billion).Vivendi shares rose as much as 9% in early trading Tuesday and were up 6.6% at 25.6 euros as of 12:20 p.m. in Paris.Trade TensionVivendi sees little risk that the U.S. authorities could block the deal as part of Washington’s wider trade conflict with Beijing, because the Tencent stake is limited to 10% for now, two people with knowledge of the companies’ discussions said. In its statement Tuesday, Vivendi said Tencent could double its holding on the same terms within one year.The French company has struggled to draw interest from private-equity firms, and Bloomberg reported in May that Vivendi was targeting strategic buyers including Tencent. The preliminary discussions with the Chinese company are likely to stir interest from other potential partners.Streaming is helping the music industry recover from a slump caused by illegal downloading and a collapse in CD sales. Universal Music now contributes around 44% of Vivendi’s revenue. Universal Music’s sales rose by around 19% in the first half, helped by releases from artists including the 17-year-old singer Billie Eilish and the Japanese band King & Prince.What Bloomberg Intelligence Says:Vivendi’s planned sale of as much as 50% of Universal Music could yield a potential windfall of $10-15 billion, with a large chunk of any proceeds probably directed toward a share-repurchase program that’s already set for a big boost.-- Matthew Bloxham, media analystClick here for the researchTencent, China’s largest social-media company, is also big in streaming. Last year it floated its Tencent Music Entertainment Group, whose growth in China mirrors that of Spotify Technology SA in the U.S. and Europe.While Spotify relies heavily on paid subscriptions, last year Tencent Music generated 71% of its revenue from a category called “social entertainment” -- things like online live music and interviews with celebrities. Tencent already works with Universal Music on distribution and marketing in China under a cooperation deal sealed in 2017.“Having a toe-hold in Universal would allow Tencent to ensure Universal’s content is always available to TME and even to Spotify, in which Tencent owns a stake,” said Sumeet Singh, an analyst with Singapore-based Aequitas Research.Universal Music’s growth has helped offset a weaker performance at Vivendi’s other businesses. The company’s market value at Monday’s close was 29.2 billion euros, less than the music unit’s equity value of 30 billion euros implied by the Tencent deal. Other Vivendi units include Havas SA, an advertising group, and the broadcaster Canal Plus.Vivendi’s board and its biggest shareholder, French billionaire Vincent Bollore, “continue to be steadfast supporters of our strategy, our work and our teams,” Universal Music’s Chief Executive Officer Lucian Grainge told staff in a memo seen by Bloomberg News and confirmed by a company spokesman.(Adds context throughout.)\--With assistance from Gaurav Panchal, Stefan Nicola, Zheping Huang, Angelina Rascouet and Cecilia Esquivel.To contact the reporters on this story: Thomas Pfeiffer in London at firstname.lastname@example.org;Angelina Rascouet in Paris at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebecca Penty at firstname.lastname@example.org, Paul SillitoeFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
European shares finished lower on Tuesday weighed down by trade worries as support from upbeat German data and China stepping in to stabilise its currency proved to be temporary. "The bounce that we saw in the morning was not necessarily well founded so therefore it is duly fading as we get to the close," said City Index analyst Ken Odeluga. The brief bounce after a two-day sell-off was spurred by China's central bank fixing the yuan at a slightly stronger rate on Tuesday, allaying fears that Beijing would use its currency as the new front in its trade battle with the United States.
PARIS/BEIJING (Reuters) - China's Tencent Holdings Ltd is in talks to buy up to 20% of Universal Music Group (UMG) from Vivendi SA, valuing the music label of Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande and the Beatles at around 30 billion euros ($34 billion), as both firms look to expand in a recovering global music market. It also highlights Universal's ambition in new markets and embrace of online streaming.
U.S. stock futures rise Tuesday, following Wall Street's worst day of the year, as China attempts to ease trade tensions with the U.S., Walt Disney to report earnings Tuesday; Barneys New York files for bankruptcy protection.
Earlier this month, the French multinational advertising and public relations giant Havas announced the release of its cannabis division: Havas ECS. Benzinga spoke with Rob Dhoble, who heads the agency’s new cannabis venture.
Italy's plans to create a unified broadband network are making only slow progress and risk being complicated by differences between the two state-controlled owners of Open Fiber over how much the infrastructure group is worth, sources said. Rome is pushing for the creation of a single ultrafast telecom network through a merger of Open Fiber with former monopoly Telecom Italia (TIM) to avoid duplicating investments. "They're miles apart on valuation and if they can't agree that there's no way they'll find a deal with TIM," one of the sources said.
A Christian rapper was awarded $2.7 million on Thursday by a Los Angeles jury that found that Katy Perry's 2013 hit "Dark Horse" contained a musical passage from one of his songs. The verdict, reported by Los Angeles City News Service, followed a copyright trial in which Marcus Gray, known as Flame, said the beat in his song "Joyful Noise" was lifted and used in Perry's single. Perry, who was not in federal court for the damages decision, testified last month that she believed "Dark Horse" was an original work.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Imagine you’re a moderately successful Indian rapper eager to graduate to global superstardom. You’ve had a few domestic number-one hits and performed on a handful of Bollywood soundtracks, but the likes of South Korea’s BTS and Psy – other artists who don’t primarily sing in English – have something you don’t: a viral YouTube smash that breaks some sort of record. Most views in a day, for instance.Going viral can seem a tall order, but not as tall as you’d think, given some of YouTube's peculiarities. Especially if your name is Badshah. Sony Music India declared in a press release last week that the rapper’s new video, Paagal, had overtaken BTS’s “Boy With Luv” and Taylor Swift’s “Me!” to become YouTube’s most-watched video in a 24-hour period, with 75 million views.That’s quite some company for an artist without much of a profile outside of his home market. It prompted accusations from social media users that Badshah had somehow gamed the system. And there are weaknesses in Google's advertising setup that might have made that possible. If anyone can exploit them, this poses a conundrum to Alphabet Inc., the parent company of both Google and YouTube.One major discrepancy with the other superstars lies in Badshah's engagement numbers. Taylor Swift and BTS have significantly more likes as a proportion of total views than Badshah does, and considerably fewer dislikes. They’re simply punching in different leagues. It suggests that people aren’t watching the videos in quite the same way.What’s more, YouTube is yet to issue a press release confirming the viewership record, as it has in the other cases. Just last week it teamed up with Vivendi SA’s Universal Music Group to announce that Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” had totted up more than a billion views.Also: Paagal just ain’t that good a tune. It entered the U.K.'s Asian Music Chart at a mediocre number 31.But the biggest clue comes from Badshah himself. In response to online complaints that he deployed bots to boost views, the singer offered a more straightforward answer in an Instagram post: he used Google’s own advertising platform to promote the video, which is a puzzling mix of L.A. skylines and scantily clad dancers cutting shapes in a warehouse.He didn’t specify which of Google’s bevy of ad products he used. But his response hints at a way that artists (and their labels) can exploit YouTube to their advantage: the public view count doesn’t differentiate between views generated by paying to be a pre-roll advertisement on other clips, or organic views that people have found by other means. The approach would circumvent the need for a bot farm repeatedly to check out the song. Google has some safety nets to make it harder for bots to tot up visits anyway.Buying pre-roll publicity is also easier in India, where ad impressions are a lot cheaper than other corners of the world, including the U.S. It’s not clear how many of those translate into actual views – Google doesn’t reveal the time threshold for one to count (whether it’s five, 10 or 30 seconds, for instance). Even so, it wouldn’t be all that expensive for Badshah or his peers to reach a significant audience.For some 5 million rupees ($72,526), you could theoretically generate almost 67 million video ad impressions in India, Claudia Ziegenbein, head of paid search at Mediacom U.K., estimates. That’s significantly cheaper than getting in front of a similarly sized audience in the U.S. or U.K., she said. A spend of around $1.5 million could well be required to hit 60 million impressions there.Does this shine a particularly bad light on Badshah and Sony Corp.’s Indian music arm? Not really. The system exists, and if they used it, they did so successfully and to their advantage. They wouldn’t be the first in the history of recorded music, or indeed of YouTube promotion. And once the view count hit a sizable level, the organic audience would start to pick up too. Sony Music India has 27 million followers of its own, but most of its videos have far fewer than one million views.Instead, it looks like this is another lesson that the best way to generate engagement on social media is to pay for it. The platforms hold all the keys.YouTube itself is in a pickle. It can’t be seen to condone any gaming of its ads platform to generate a hit. But it also won’t want to dissuade advertisers from paying for viewership. That’s literally what pays the bills. Next best solution? Just keep quiet and hope it all blows over.To contact the author of this story: Alex Webb at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Jennifer Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Alex Webb is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Europe's technology, media and communications industries. He previously covered Apple and other technology companies for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.