As reports earlier this week indicated, self-made multi-billionaire Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries has agreed to acquire Warner Music Group for $3.3 billion in cash. WMG’s Chairman and CEO, Edgar Bronfman, Jr., said in a statement:
“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. We are delighted that Access will be the new steward of this outstanding business. They are supportive of the company’s vision, growth strategy and artists, while bringing a fresh entrepreneurial perspective and expertise in technology and media. Most importantly, Access supports Warner Music’s commitment to our recording artists and songwriters who are the foundation of our current and future success.”
Access controlled an estimated 2% interest in WMG before the purchase. Blavatnik is no stranger to the music firm and Bronfman; he held a WMG board seat for four years and invested an estimated $25 million in the company. In 2007, Blavatnik bought a Manhattan property from Bronfman for $50 million.
Len 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.”
According to the company’s most recent annual report, WMG has seen deepening losses during music’s industry-wide tailspin under Bronfman. Its net losses have increased steadily year-to-year, from $21 million in fiscal 2007 to $143 million in 2010.