Warner Music Group has agreed to buy 300 Entertainment, the record label behind rapper Megan Thee Stallion and other artists, for more than $400 million, the latest deal in a crazy market for musical properties.
Co-founded by music moguls Lyor Cohen and Kevin Liles in 2012, 300 has risen to become an indie hip-hop label featuring artists such as Fetty Wap and Young Thug.
Financial terms were not disclosed, but the company sold it to Warner for more than $400 million, according to people familiar with the matter. Cohen, who left 300 years old to work at YouTube, said: “300 is a way of life and has a lot of good things in hand.”
The sale comes as the music industry’s revenue has grown for the fifth year in a row, changing the size of the business and increasing the appeal of song rights as an investment.
The three Big Three record labels – Warner, Universal Music and Sony Music – are currently competing to buy music content with private equity group as well as specialist investors like Hipgnosis. Private equity firms Blackstone, KKR and Apollo have in recent months pledged billions of dollars to buy music rights.
The result was skyrocketing prices and frenzied sales.
Warner Music, home of singers Lizzo and Ed Sheeran, last month raised $535 million in debt to support acquisitions.
Liles, a former president of Def Jam, runs 300 based in New York. Its biggest stars include Megan Thee Stallion, the Texan rapper whose song was the most used on TikTok this year, and Mary J Blige.
Warner went public last year, tapping into investors’ enthusiasm for the music industry. Its bigger rival Popular music publicly listed this year.
Warner, which is valued at $22 billion on Nasdaq, is controlled by Access Industries, the parent company of Ukraine-born billionaire Sir Leonard Blavatnik, through a stock sale. Blavatnik acquired Warner for $3.3 billion as the music industry was in the midst of a piracy crisis.
https://www.ft.com/content/4ecdc60f-a2f5-4461-99f5-fc011ca9f431 Warner Music buys record label 300 Entertainment for $400 million