Universal Music Group Plans IPO by 2023

Billie Eilish Best New Artist Grammy Awards  - Getty - H 2020
ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

Recorded music revenues were up 11.6 percent year over year, while the publishing division's revenues increased 9.2 percent, both at constant currency.

The Universal Music Group's revenues passed $7.7 billion (7.16 billion euros) in 2019, up 14 percent at constant currency thanks to another strong surge in streaming revenue, which was up 21.5 percent year over year.

Recorded music revenues were up 11.6 percent year over year, while the publishing division's revenues increased 9.2 percent, both at constant currency.

That represents another strong year for the world's biggest record company, which finished 2019 by completing the sale of 10 percent of UMG to Tencent in a deal that values the company at $33 billion. The deal also includes an option for the Chinese conglomerate to purchase an additional 10 percent of UMG before Jan. 15, 2021.

In addition, according to Vivendi's presentation to shareholders posted online, an initial public offering for Universal Music Group is “currently planned for early 2023 at the latest.” Last week, the Warner Music Group announced plans for an IPO of its own.

Universal's strong performance helped parent company Vivendi increase its revenues 5.6 percent in constant currency, to $17.2 billion (15.9 billion euros), with adjusted net income up 50.5 percent to $1.8 billion (1.7 billion euros) for 2019. Vivendi also owns a French television company, as well as the Havas Group, Editis, Gameloft and more.

Within recorded music, perhaps the most surprising number was that physical music sales increased 3.1 percent, a marked change from years of decline in the format. Download sales continued their decline, down 23.2 percent, though the growth in physical offset the losses in digital sales, according to Vivendi's press release.

Meanwhile, the company said that on the top five major platforms — Amazon, Apple, Deezer, Spotify and YouTube, alphabetically — it counted a different top artist: Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, J Balvin, Post Malone and Daddy Yankee.

Elsewhere, merchandise and other revenues increased 73.7 percent year over year, which the company attributed to a growth in touring and direct-to-consumer sales. UMG's earnings before interest, taxes and amortization (EBITA) grew 22.3 percent to $1.22 million (1.124 million euros) over 2018.

For the fourth quarter 2019, UMG brought in $2.28 billion (2.10 billion euros) in revenue, up from $2.06 billion (1.90 billion euros) in the same period in 2018.

This story first appeared on Billboard.com.