William Ackman SPAC Nears $40 Billion Universal Music Deal

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Billie Eilish, a Universal Music Group artist, performs in London on Jan. 29.



Photo:

Andy Sturmey/Avalon/Zuma Press

Breaking News…

Hedge-fund billionaire

William Ackman’s

special-purpose acquisition company is nearing a transaction with Universal Music Group that would value the world’s largest music business at about $40 billion, people familiar with the matter said.

Bill Ackman, the chief executive of Pershing Square Capital, speaking at the Wall Street Journal Digital Conference in Laguna Beach, Calif., on Oct. 17, 2017.



Photo:

mike blake/Reuters

The deal would be the largest SPAC transaction on record, exceeding the roughly $35 billion that Singaporean ride-hailing company Grab Holdings Inc. was valued at in a similar deal recently, according to Dealogic. It would have a so-called enterprise value, taking into consideration Universal’s debt, of about $42 billion.

It’s not guaranteed Universal and the SPAC,

Pershing Square Tontine Holdings Ltd.,

PSTH 0.56%

will reach a deal. If they do, it could be finalized in the next few weeks and isn’t subject to any additional due diligence, the people said.

(More to Come)

More on Universal Music, Ackman and SPACs

Write to Maureen Farrell at maureen.farrell@wsj.com and Cara Lombardo at cara.lombardo@wsj.com

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