Saturday, May 07, 2011

Warners sold again

While everyone here was excitedly watching the pile of No votes grow in the referendum ("will they topple over? will they reach the moon?"), across the Atlantic something called Access Industries were buying Warner Music Group for USD8.25 a share.

Which values WMG at around three billion dollars.

Was it a shrewd deal? The shares immediately fell to USD7.63, so like most owners of Warners Access have started to lose money immediately.

Len Blavatnik, Chairman and founder of Access Industries, 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."
Access have owned a chunk of Warners for quite a while - they bought in at the same time as Bronfman, but were only holding 2% of the stock prior to takeover.

In the UK, you'll know them best as the owners of Top-Up TV. If that doesn't stretch the meaning of the word "best" too far. (Yes, it turns out Top-Up TV is still going, too - unclear if Blavatnik hails the strong heritage of that company in the same way.)

Globally, the company is really driven by its partnership with BP to exploit the Russian oilfields as quickly as possible. You can see how worrying about a KD Lang album release might prove a pleasing distraction after dealing with that all day.

Naturally, the deal is mostly about floating Warners onto an ever-bigger sea of debt.