- Bill Ackman dug into his $4 billion deal to buy 10% of Universal Music in a presentation this week.
- The hedge fund manager emphasized music’s timeless appeal and lauded the group’s CEO.
- Ackman also mentioned his Reddit fanbase and discussed his proposed SPARC investment vehicle.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Billionaire investor Bill Ackman touted his recent deal to buy 10% of Universal Music Group for $4 billion in a presentation on Wednesday. He underscored the power of the music publisher’s business model, ranked its boss among the best CEOs in modern history, and tipped his hat to the Reddit users who cheered him on while he worked to close the transaction.
The Pershing Square Tontine Holdings (PSTH) boss also emphasized the lasting appeal of music, explained the key strengths of his planned special-purpose acquisition rights company (SPARC), and invited private companies that fit his requirements to call him if they want to go public.
Here are Ackman’s eight best quotes from the presentation, lightly edited and condensed for clarity:
1. “We got our first meeting and it was love at first sight. We dug in and really stopped looking at other opportunities because we had found our target.” – discussing the start of talks with Universal about eight months ago.
2. “It was a bit like the dog that grabbed the bumper of the car and wouldn’t let go because this was precisely what were were looking for.” – underscoring how well Universal fit Pershing’s criteria.
3. “If you own Universal Music Group, you own a royalty on people listening to music. I can’t think of an asset that I have more confidence in it being consumed over time, other than food and water. But the difference with music is you can create IP that you can license to others.”
4. “Think about the iconic CEOs that will be remembered. Think about Walt Disney, think about Steve Jobs. Lucian is an executive who will be remembered for his contribution to this industry. He’s a tremendous human being.” – praising Universal CEO Lucian Grainge.
5. “You don’t need to go hire a ton of developers; everyone wants to be a rock star. There are a lot of entrepreneurs working really hard pitching Universal and hoping Universal will back them in their careers. They want Universal because Universal has had better success than anyone else in making you a star.” – explaining why Universal has a better business model than a typical software company.
6. “Analysts value these interests at anywhere between $2 billion and $4 billion if you were to liquidate them all tomorrow. We’re getting those investments ‘free’ and that’s always a good price.” – commenting on Universal’s investments in Spotify and Tencent Music.
7. “There are some excellent analysts on Reddit. There is a community of people that are studying this company.” – nodding to the members of the r/PSTH subreddit who have been closely following his deal since last year.
8. “It takes away the shot clock from us. We’re never going to put money to work because we’re under pressure, but I don’t like that people are waiting for us to do something and their money is sitting there. I feel that burden and this removes that burden.” – highlighting a key advantage of his proposed SPARC vehicle, which differs from a SPAC because it won’t tap investors for cash until it has struck a deal.
9. “If someone needs $1.5 billion to $3 billion and wants to go public tomorrow, call me.” – Ackman emphasized that businesses need to meet Pershing Square’s criteria.