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Vevo Owners Said Close to Hiring Goldman to Explore Sale

VEVO LLC Chief Executive Officer Rio Caraeff
Rio Caraeff, chief executive officer of VEVO LLC, speaks during the Digital Entertainment World (DEW) in Los Angeles. Caraeff said in an interview last week that Vevo has been talking to interested investors and has started due diligence with a number of companies. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

Vevo LLC’s four owners are close to hiring Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to explore sale options for the music video-hosting service, according to three people familiar with the matter.

The sale of a majority stake is being considered among those options, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the process is private. Vevo is co-owned by Vivendi SA’s Universal Music Group, Sony Corp.’s Sony Music Entertainment, Google Inc. and Abu Dhabi Media Co.

New York-based Vevo is weighing offers from DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc., Liberty Media Corp. and a joint venture owned by AT&T Inc. and Chernin Group, one of the people said. Chief Executive Officer Rio Caraeff said in an interview last week that Vevo has been talking to interested investors and has started due diligence with a number of companies.

“We want to create more programming, we want to launch in more countries, we want to build better products and just generally be a lot bigger than we are,” Caraeff said. “We think the time is right to bring in some new investors to help us achieve that. We’re starting that ball rolling.”

Goldman Sachs spokesman Michael DuVally declined to comment, as did Jennifer Press, a spokeswoman for Vevo, and Allison Rawlings, a spokeswoman for DreamWorks Animation.

AT&T, Chernin and Liberty didn’t immediately respond to e-mails seeking comment.

Vevo, founded in 2009, has 227 million viewers worldwide and averages 5.5 billion monthly video views, as of December 2013. The service, which makes money from advertising and merchandising, shows music videos from both Sony and Universal.

As part of any sale, the music labels and Vevo would likely create licensing agreements with the new owner, one of the people said.

Google acquired a minority stake in Vevo last year in a deal that valued the company at more than $500 million, said two people with knowledge of the situation at the time. Re/code reported DreamWorks was interested in buying part of Vevo earlier this month.

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