Warner Music Group has made a big move in the merchandise game, announcing plans to acquire German firm EMP Merchandising. The deal would see EMP becoming a standalone direct-to-fan business unit within WMG’s artist-and-label services division WEA, with its current CEO and CFO remaining in their roles to manage it. “EMP has built a powerful lifestyle destination that will be a perfect complement to our global artist development and marketing strategies,” said WMG’s CEO of international and global commercial services Stu Bergen in a statement.
EMP sells merch for artists including Metallica, Guns’n’Roses, Pink Floyd and Twenty One Pilots already, but also works with non-music brands from Disney and Marvel to Harry Potter, Nintendo, PlayStation and the NFL. The deal must clear regulatory approval in Germany before it closes later this year. An SEC filing revealed that WMG will pay $180m in cash for the acquisition.