Bertelsmann has said it has taken ownership of music rights management firm BMG after buying out the stake of US investor KKR. With the deal, Europe's biggest media group aims to re-introduce music to its portfolio.
Bertelsmann, which already owned 49 percent of BMG, brought the music rights company under its control by acquiring the 51-percent stake held by US-based private equity firm KKR.
The two sides didn't disclose a sum for the deal, but the Financial Times reported last week that the buy-out would cost Bertelsmann an estimated 500 million euros ($654 million).
BMG was founded in 2008 and is known as BMG Chrysalis in a number of countries, including Britain and the United States. The firm owns the publishing rights to more than a million music titles, including works by artists such as Duran Duran, Gossip and Johnny Cash. In addition, BMG has so-called master rights to songs by Brian Ferry, Nena and Anastacia, which include both rights to composition and recording.
"This is a great day for Bertelsmann. We are bringing the music home to our group," Bertelsmann Chief Executive Thomas Rabe said after announcing the deal Friday. Rabe described KKR as a good partner, adding, however, that full ownership of BMG was an important step in Bertelsmann's growth strategy.
The buy-out is still subject to approval by EU regulators. But Bertelsmann said it hoped the procedure could be closed within the first half of 2013.
uhe/msh (Reuters, AFP, dpa)