Bertelsmann buys out KKR in music rights business BMG

A poster of Bertelsmann media worldwide/AFP

A poster of Bertelsmann media worldwide/AFP

FRANKFURT, Mar 1 – German media giant Bertelsmann said Friday it has agreed to buy out the US investment fund KKR in their jointly-owned music rights management company BMG for an undisclosed sum.

Bertelsmann said in a statement it will acquire the 51-percent stake that KKR has held in BMG since 2009, finally bringing the unit back under full ownership.

BMG was originally set up in 2008 and KKR acquired its 51-percent stake in 2009.

According to the Financial Times last week, the estimated cost of the deal is around 500 million euros ($654 million).

The deal is still subject to regulatory approval, but is scheduled to close “during the first half of this year,” the statement said.

Bertelsmann said BMG manages the rights to more than one million songs, including works by such artists as Bruno Mars, Duran Duran, Gossip, Johnny Cash, and Will.i.am.

It also represents the master rights — composition and recording — of artists such as Brian Ferry, Nena and Anastacia.

“This is a great day for Bertelsmann. We are bringing the music home to our group. We are happy to have BMG as our own company again,” said Bertelsmann chief executive Thomas Rabe.

Rabe said KKR had been a good partner, but taking full ownership of BMG was “an important step in putting Bertelsmann’s growth strategy into practice,” Rabe said.

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