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Thursday, September 16, 2021

Lucian Grainge in line for $170m payday from Universal Music listing

The British record label mogul, Sir Lucian Grainge, is on track for one of the biggest executive payouts in corporate history when Universal Music makes its stock market debut next week with a package of cash bonuses worth more than $170m (£123m). 

Sir Lucian, the chairman and chief executive of Universal, who nearly died of coronavirus last year, is due to receive the money when the world’s largest record label is admitted to the Amsterdam stock exchange.

The figure is based on a calculation disclosed to investors in the prospectus on Tuesday. Sir Lucian’s payout will be composed of a “transaction bonus” of at least $150m, assuming Universal achieves analyst expectations of a debut valuation of more than $40bn. 

On top of that he will receive a payment of more than $20m in relation to the sale of a 10pc minority stake in the record label to the Chinese tech giant Tencent last year. 

The total is likely to be significantly higher than $170m, as Sir Lucian will also receive a bonus in relation to the recent sale of another 10pc stake in Universal to Pershing Square, the fund run by the activist investor Bill Ackman. The prospectus did not disclose that figure, however. 

All of the bonuses are due to be paid by the French media giant Vivendi, which has owned Universal Music since 2000. 

The billionaire industrialist Vincent Bollore seized control of Vivendi in 2013 and is now cashing in on the successful reconstruction of the music business for the streaming era.

Sir Lucian, who was born in London, is widely credited as a leading architect of the new industry. He was behind pioneering licensing deals that provided the foundations for Spotify and later bet on the enduring value of hit records. 

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