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Bill Ackman drops SPAC plan for Universal Music deal
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Hedge-fund billionaire William Ackman is dropping plans to use his SPAC to invest in Universal Music Group, saying the Securities and Exchange Commission wasn’t convinced the deal met the rules for such vehicles.
Mr. Ackman said his investment firm, Pershing Square Holdings Ltd., would instead take a stake in Universal and become a long-term investor in the company. The U-turn is a setback for Mr. Ackman, who crafted a first-of-its-kind pact that set it apart from a wave of other deals orchestrated recently by special-purpose acquisition companies.
In June, Mr. Ackmann said his SPAC had agreed to buy a 10% stake in Universal from French media conglomerate Vivendi SE for about $4 billion. The deal valued Universal at some $40 billion. Typically, such deals involve a previously listed SPAC, or blank-check company, merging with an unlisted business, taking it public.
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