Bill Ackman forced to restructure Universal Music deal


Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square has been forced to restructure a $4bn deal to buy a 10 per cent stake in Universal Music, the company behind artists such as Taylor Swift, after US regulators objected to the original shape of the deal.

Pershing had agreed last month to buy the stake from Vivendi, Universal’s owner, via a special purpose acquisition company called Pershing Square Tontine Holdings. But in a statement on Monday Ackman’s company said the Securities and Exchange Commission had found problems with the transaction.

“Our decision to seek an alternative initial business combination (IBC) was driven by issues raised by the SEC with several elements of the proposed transaction — in particular, whether the structure of our IBC qualified under the NYSE rules,” Pershing said on Monday.

It added: “Yet, despite the inability of PSTH to consummate the UMG transaction, our counterparty was not left at the altar. Pershing Square will be fulfilling PSTH’s commitment to Vivendi.”

It said that Pershing Square planned to be a long-term shareholder in Universal, which is due to list in Amsterdam.