Last major US record label is sold


Russian billionaire Len Blavatnik has agreed to buy Warner Music Group for $3.3 billion. The deal means that every one of the big four record label groups will be foreign owned.

Technically, Blavatnik’s US-based Access Industries is buying WMG. Current shareholders will be paid $8.25 per share, which is a 34.4% premium over the average share price of $6.14 over the past six months. The stock had closed Thursday (5/5) at $7.90.

Thomas H. Lee Partners, Bain Capital and WMG CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr., who collectively hold approximately 56% of the record company’s shares, have entered into a voting agreement with Access to vote in favor of the deal. After the deal closes WMG will be privately owned and its shares will no longer trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

“We believe this transaction is an exceptional value-maximizing opportunity that serves the best interests of stockholders as well as the best interests of music fans, our recording artists and songwriters, and the wonderful people of this company,” said Bronfman in announcing the sale.

Access will assume nearly $2 billion of debt when it takes over WMG. It has secured financing from Credit Suisse and UBS Investment Bank to help cover the $1.3 billion in cash to be paid to WMG shareholders.

RBR-TVBR observation: OK, can RIAA explain again why it is in the best interest of the United States to collect performance royalties from American radio stations to send the money to Tokyo, Paris, London and now Moscow?