Bloomberg News

Universal Music Group to Sell Black Sabbath Label to BMG

February 15, 2013

Vivendi SA’s Universal Music Group, the world’s biggest record company, agreed to sell the label of Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and Megadeth to BMG Rights Management as part of disposals required by regulators.

The deal for Sanctuary Records is among the asset sales asked for by European regulators after Universal Music’s acquisition of EMI Group and is the second label bought by BMG Rights among those on offer, BMG Rights said in a statement today. The Sanctuary label was sold for 40 million pounds ($62 million), two people with knowledge of the transaction said.

Sanctuary, which also holds rights to The Kinks and Motorhead, is the second label Universal Music has sold this month. Last week, the record company agreed to sell Parlophone, home to Coldplay, the Pet Shop Boys and Tina Turner, to Warner Music Group for $784 million. BMG Rights, controlled by KKR & Co. (KKR:US), is a Berlin-based management and rights company expanding into recorded music.

“We have made no secret of our ambition to create a new force in the music industry focused on delivering service and revenue to artists,” BMG Chief Executive Officer Hartwig Masuch said in the statement.

BMG Rights bought EMI’s Mute record label, home to Depeche Mode, in December.

Remaining Assets

Remaining assets to be sold include Cooperative Music, a London-based group of independent labels, and EMI’s European portion of the NOW Series, a CD collection of top radio-played songs, said one person familiar with the situation. The businesses have more than a dozen suitors, the person said.

Vivendi, which also owns 61 percent of Activision Blizzard Inc., the Santa Monica, California-based video-game company, rose 0.7 percent to 15.51 euros at 10:22 a.m. in Paris.

Citigroup agreed in November 2011 to sell EMI’s recorded music and publishing business in separate transactions for a combined $4.1 billion.

Universal Music, based in Los Angeles, paid $1.9 billion for the recorded music businesses while a Sony Corp.-led group paid $2.2 billion for the publishing assets.

The bank seized EMI from Guy Hands’s private equity firm, Terra Firma Partners Ltd., in February of that year after it failed to meet loan terms. Hands bought EMI for 4 billion pounds in 2007.

To contact the reporters on this story: Andy Fixmer in Los Angeles at afixmer@bloomberg.net; Kristen Schweizer in London at kschweizer1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net


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