Universal Music Takes Stake In Major Artist Catalog Firm For $240M

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Universal Music Group has paid $240 million for a minority stake in Chord Music Partners, the music IP company launched by KKR and Dundee Partners in 2021.

The major music label has picked up a 25.8 percent interest in a venture that has music catalogs belonging to The Weeknd, John Legend, Ryan Tedder/OneRepublic, David Guetta, Lorde, Kid Cudi, Diplo, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Ellie Goulding, ZZ Top and Twenty One Pilots.

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In all, Chord holds the rights to around 60,000 songs. The stake deal values the company at $1.85 billion, and includes KKR cashing out of Chord when the transaction is completed. At that point, the Dundee consortium and UMG will hold 74.2 percent and 25.8 percent stakes, respectively.

UMG and Dundee Partners will also strike a new strategic partnership to manage Chord’s rights and to jointly acquire additional catalogs in the future. Chord’s music publishing rights will be run through the Universal Music Publishing Group and recorded music through UMG’s Virgin Music Group.

“Finding partners who share our passion for identifying iconic songs and recordings that will stand the test of time and deliver long-term growth is essential, which is why we’re so pleased to be working with Stephen and Sam Hendel and Dundee Partners,” Lucian Grainge, UMG chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

“By combining a best-in-class financial acquisition vehicle with the world’s leading music company, we are creating both a premier platform for music investment as well as a permanent home for premier artist’s legacies and their iconic cultural works,” Sam Hendel, Dundee Partners’ managing principal and co-founder of Chord, said in his own statement as KKR exits.

In addition to co-founding Chord, Dundee, the investment vehicle for the Hendel family, is the majority owner of Knitting Factory Entertainment, Partisan Records and Kino Lorber.

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