Major Record Label Seeking Buyer

UMG or Sony. Take your pick

UMG or Sony. Take your pick

The latest music biz buzz that’s yet to go viral is that one of the three remaining major labels is shopping for a buyer and, according to a well-informed source, “it ain’t Warner”. According to the source, the boards of both Sony and Vivendi are sick of holding on to, in his words, “these bags of shit” and want to divest. “One of these company’s will be sold in the next 6 to 12 months,” he says.

Its long been whispered that  the Vivendi board has had buyer’s remorse over the purchase of EMI last year, which has caused a rift between the French and Universal Music CEO Lucian Grainge, who was recently pronounced the most powerful man in the music business by Billboard Magazine. Vivendi was able to offload part of their initial outlay with the sale of Parlophone, but that may not have been enough to satisfy the board.

As for Sony, it’s stale at best. “Sony’s a nice company. It’s fairly insignificant really”, Grainge recently told the Financial Times.  ”They’ve got some good acts and deals that I’d like us to have some day…I don’t care about Doug Morris. I don’t care about Sony. That’s the past. It’s an old company.” Grainge is right to the extent that Sony Music septuagenarian CEO Doug Morris, doppelganger Mel Lewinter, legacy holdover Rob “Fredo” Stringer, and ex-reality tv star L.A. Reid haven’t really set the music world on fire. Sony isn’t known for being innovative, but then again, who in the recording industry is? Jimmy Iovine? How about Tommy Mottola or Clive Davis? Certainly not Doug Morris. Some reports say he’s still trying to learn how to use email.

The bigger question is who would spend billions to buy one of these companies? News Corp? Viacom? Maybe Bertelsmann (again)? Comcast? Burkel or Perelman? Somebody is reportedly looking hard at one or both of the two labels and you have to remember there’s a lot of stupid money floating around out there.

© 2013, Wayne Rosso. All rights reserved.

6 comments for “Major Record Label Seeking Buyer

  1. Francine
    March 30, 2013 at 6:54 AM

    This isn’t a story. Everything is for sale.

  2. Martine
    March 29, 2013 at 10:51 PM

    Wayne, I don’t get this article. Is your premise that no one should ever buy a record label, regardless of the price? Isn’t there some price at which the company generates enough money to be profitable? Do you believe that SONY should just close up shop and fire its employees?

    Note that your source called these companies “bags of shit”. Not very classy. I see you keep writing about the bags of shit. So maybe someone wants to buy one.

    A billion dollars for SONY? For a couple of oil sultans, that would be chump change.

  3. Gyorgy
    March 29, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    Yaay, you’re back! :-) So apropos of Sony, hope you don’t mind if I ask again if you can let us know what happened with the Dr. Luke/Doug Morris deal that the NY Times did a big photo piece on @ late 2011? Thank you!!

    • March 29, 2013 at 5:09 PM

      Will see what I can do. Thanks for reading.

      • Gyorgy
        March 30, 2013 at 10:28 AM

        Thanks, I appreciate it. btw, if you possibly missed it back then, the NY Times article is from Nov. 11, 2011, titled “At Sony Music A Plan to Dominate the Industry” (comes up right away on Google). But there hasn’t been even a peep anywhere about this deal since then :)

        • Gyorgy
          March 30, 2013 at 10:30 AM

          oops, typo…….Nov. 7, 2011 is the date of the article.

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