Billie Eilish is one of Universal Music’s biggest stars.



Photo:

/Associated Press

Tencent Holdings Ltd.


TCEHY 1.65{960021229dc1dc07dce4932a9ddab0b26243ff9ca1f758a9c1fcae84a7a57436}

is doubling its stake in the music giant behind

Ariana Grande

and

Billie Eilish.

The Chinese internet company said Friday it was leading a consortium that had agreed to buy an additional 10{960021229dc1dc07dce4932a9ddab0b26243ff9ca1f758a9c1fcae84a7a57436} stake in Universal Music Group from

Vivendi

SE, in a deal that values the world’s largest music business at 30 billion euros, equivalent to $36.8 billion.

The deal bolsters Tencent’s growing presence in the record industry and its exposure to some of the biggest names in music. Universal’s stable also includes classic acts such as Queen and the Beatles, and it recently bought

Bob Dylan’s

entire publishing catalog.

The purchase comes nearly a year after the Tencent-led consortium, which includes its streaming business

Tencent Music Entertainment Group

and other undisclosed investors, first bought a 10{960021229dc1dc07dce4932a9ddab0b26243ff9ca1f758a9c1fcae84a7a57436} stake in Universal. That deal included an option to buy an additional stake of up to 10{960021229dc1dc07dce4932a9ddab0b26243ff9ca1f758a9c1fcae84a7a57436} at the same valuation.

Tencent and Vivendi also signed a separate agreement in March enabling Tencent Music to acquire a minority stake in the Universal subsidiary that owns the record label’s Greater China operations.

The Chinese company also earlier this year purchased a small stake in

Warner Music Group Corp.

, home to stars including Cardi B,

Ed Sheeran

and

Lizzo.

Vivendi said Friday that it hoped Tencent’s interest in Universal would enable the business to further develop its activities in Asia and that they would work together to broaden opportunities for artists.

Universal has in recent years proved a bright spot for Vivendi, which also owns the Canal+ TV company. That is partly because owning and selling the rights to music has become more valuable as revenue from music streaming on services such as Spotify Technology SA and Apple Inc.’s Apple Music has grown.

Following the latest Tencent deal, which is expected to close in the first half of 2021, Vivendi will hold an 80{960021229dc1dc07dce4932a9ddab0b26243ff9ca1f758a9c1fcae84a7a57436} stake in Universal. However, the French media conglomerate said it would seek to sell additional minority interests in the music business, which it plans to list on the stock market in 2022 at the latest.

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