Russian-born billionaire Blavatnik buys Blur and Coldplay in £500m Warners Parlophone takeover

 

The Russian billionaire Len Blavatnik will add Coldplay, Blur and Tinie Tempah to his empire after his Warner Music group emerged victorious in a bidding war to take over the historic Parlophone record label.

Warners, bought by Blavatnik’s Access Industries private equity group for $3.3 billion (£2 bn) in 2011, won the battle to take control of Parlophone and other EMI assets, which were put up for sale following Universal Music’s takeover of the British company.

The deal is worth £487 million ($765 million), considerably higher than Parlophone’s £300 million valuation.

Parlophone’s stable, which also includes Kate Bush and Kylie Minogue, will now join Warner Music’s star names such as Ed Sheeran, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Bruno Mars.

Warners, which owns the Led Zeppelin and Fleetwood Mac back catalogue, will also take control of ground-breaking albums by David Bowie, Pink Floyd and Kraftwerk.

EU regulators ordered Universal to sell off 30 per cent of EMI’s assets as a condition for the approval of a £1.2 billion takeover of the record company.

Warner beat a joint bid from Sony Music and BMG rights and a consortium led by Simon Fuller, the American Idol creator, to secure the EMI business.

The deal gives Warner Music a market share of 20 per cent, edging closer to Sony Music’s 29 per cent, whilst Universal remains the market leader with just under 40 per cent.

Moscow-born Blavatnik, 55, is based in London and worth $12.5 billion. The Russian-American industrialist’s empire extends from oil to a sports entertainment group.

He was rumoured to have paid a record $87 million for a Rothko at Christie’s last year and gifted $115 million for the creation of Oxford University’s Blavatnik School of Government.

Blavatnik, Chairman and founder of Access Industries, said: “This is a very important milestone for Warner Music, reflecting our commitment to artist development by strengthening our worldwide roster, global footprint and executive talent.”

Universal retains control of the Beatles catalogue and artists including Emilie Sande under the EU-approved deal. Regulators said Parlophone must be sold to a company with a track record in the music industry, which would retain the brand name. Some Parlophone artists expressed concern over their transfer to a new corporate entity.

Stephen Cooper, CEO of Warner Music Group, said: “Having the Parlophone Label Group become part of our family represents a unique opportunity for us to join with legendary record labels and artists that are highly complementary to our existing organization from a creative, geographic and strategic standpoint.

“We are committed to making this a great outcome for Parlophone’s artists and employees, who will find in WMG a similar spirit and culture that is dedicated to providing the most supportive and innovative home for recording artists.  The continuation of the Parlophone legacy and brand are central to the future success of this combination, and we are proud to have them join us.”

Lucian Grainge, Chairman & CEO of Universal Music, said: “Following this transaction, we will continue with our global reinvestment program that is rebuilding EMI and ensuring that the company is able to reach its full potential. And we’re satisfied that our agreement with Warner Music will provide a home for PLG artists.”

Warners obtained commitments to finance the transaction through a new term loan facility provided through Credit Suisse, Barclays, UBS, Macquarie and Nomura.

The closing of the transaction is expected to occur mid-year 2013, subject to regulatory approvals and a consultation procedure with employee representatives. Job losses at Parlophone are expected as the company integrates with its new owner.

Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Hewer is to leave The Apprentice after 10 years

TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice

Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says

film George RR Martin owns a cinema in Santa Fe

Arts and Entertainment
Clued up: John Lynch and Gillian Anderson in ‘The Fall’

TV review

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
News
Shenaz Treasurywala
film
News
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
music
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
    The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

    The 12 ways of Christmas

    We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
    Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

    The male exhibits strange behaviour

    A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
    Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

    Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

    Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

    The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'