Billionaire investor Len Blavatnik will pay $3.3 billion to acquire Warner Music Group, which is currently owned by a private investment group controlled by Warner chief Edgar Bronfman. While $3 billion may seem like a high price to pay for a money-losing company with $2 billion in debt, Blavatnik faced competition from over a dozen other bidders, including Sony, Live Nation and Bertelsmann.
The Bronfman-led group bought the label from Time Warner for $2.6 billion in 2004. Blavatnik’s Access Industries is already an investor in Warner, and the Blavatnik has served on the company’s board.
Blavatnik said: “I am excited to extend my longstanding involvement with Warner Music. It is a great company with a strong heritage and home to many exceptional artists. I look forward to working closely with the many talented people within the company.”
Bronfman added: “We are delighted that Access will be the new steward of this outstanding business.”
Once the merger closes, Warner is expected to bid for competitor EMI, though European anti-trust regulators are opposed to allowing the two money-losing companies to merge, fearing it would stifle competition in the moribund music business.
Warner Music bought by Len Blavatnik for $3.3bn [The Guardian]