Bill Ackman sees Universal Music SPAC deal closing later this month

Investing News

Bill Ackman, founder and CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Billionaire investor Bill Ackman said he expects to close his SPAC deal to buy 10% of Universal Music Group for around $4 billion later this month.

Ackman’s blank-check company Pershing Square Tontine Holdings (PSTH) is likely to finish the transaction by June 22, the investor told CNBC’s Scott Wapner. French media company Vivendi, the majority owner of Universal Music controlling 80%, is set to hold its shareholder meeting on that day.

Ackman said he is excited about the deal and believes he is getting a slice of the No. 3 player in the space at a discount.

The deal would value Universal Music at 35 billion euros (around $42.4 billion). It will not result in a merger and Universal Music will go ahead with a planned listing on Euronext Amsterdam in the third quarter of 2021.

The deal would leave $1.5 billion in residual cash in Ackman’s SPAC, which would be rolled into a first-of-its-kind SPARC, or special purpose acquisition rights company, for another acquisition down the road.

Unlike a traditional SPAC where investors commit capital without knowing the target company, Ackman will inform SPARC investors of the potential acquisition before they pledge funds. In other words, investors get to opt in if they like the deal and walk away if not.

Ackman’s hedge fund will own about 30% of the SPARC, which will remain listed on the NYSE but will no longer be treated as a SPAC under the exchange’s listing rules.

The SPARC will have a minimum of $6.6 billion of cash and up to approximately $10.6 billion for the next deal.

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