Warner Music sold and valued at $3 billion

Warner Music sold and valued at $3 billion
Warner Music Group Corp. has been valued at $3 billion after Russian billionaire Len Blavatnik paid $8.25 a share to acquire the company this week.

The oil tycoon is now in charge of the world's third biggest music empire after Universal and Sony.

Warner Music is home to Disturbed, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Neil Young, Green Day, Josh Groban, Linkin Park and Fleetwood Mac.

Warner's new $3 billion makes it even more valuable than when it was sold last in 2004 for $2.6 billion, before the downturn in the music industry.

Blavatnik is betting on an upswing for the business based on digital deliver.

He may be right. Album sales in the USA for the first three months of 2011 were up 9% on the same period in 2010.

Americans spent $6.3 billion on music in 2010. That is down from the 2000 peak of $14.3 billion.

Warner Music has 3,700 employees, down from 5,100 in 2003 and the price Blavatnik paid will no doubt mean more cutbacks.

The 53-year old Russian paid $1.3 billion for the 56% share owned by Edgar Bronfman Jr, Thomas H. Lee and Bain Capital.

In a statement today, Bronfman said, '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."

The deal is expected to be finalized in September.

The new Warner Blavatnik lead Warner is already talking about a takeover of EMI later in the year.


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