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WMG’s international boss Stu Bergen is stepping down

Warner Music Group’s CEO of international and global commercial services, Stu Bergen, has announced that he is stepping down at the end of January 2021.

“In the meantime, I’ll give my all to a smooth and seamless transition, before starting a new chapter of exciting professional, personal, and philanthropic pursuits,” wrote Bergen in an email to colleagues yesterday.

It’s an amicable departure, with WMG’s recorded music boss Max Lousada praising Bergen as “an influential member of our global leadership team, a devoted supporter of our artists, and a passionate champion of our team… an ambitious catalyst for change, helping us build a truly global platform for growth”.

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Warner Music Group springs a surprise with IPO filing

It’s official: Warner Music Group is now ‘The Beyoncé of Initial Public Offerings’. The major label group has surprise-dropped an IPO (okay, we’ll abandon this comparison now) on the industry, announcing a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to go public. All the more surprising, since WMG has already been a public company before, before being bought for $3.3bn by investment group Access Industries in 2011, and taken private.

Now WMG will be braving the public markets again: you can read its S1 filing in full here, although since WMG has continued to publish quarterly and annual financial results in the years since 2011, most of the figures on its business are already well known to the industry. The filing sets out why WMG thinks now is a good time to go public again, though. “The music entertainment industry is large, global and vibrant. The recorded music and music publishing industries are growing, driven by consumer and demographic trends in the digital consumption of music.”

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Deezer raises €100m from Access Industries and Orange

Months after Deezer abandoned plans for its IPO, the music-streaming service has announced a Series E funding round of €100m ($109.3m).

Two existing investors are involved: Warner Music Group owner Access Industries led the new round, while longtime Deezer partner Orange also participated.

“It’s very good news: it gives us the flexibility now to proceed on all our growth strategies,” Deezer chief executive Hans-Holger Albrecht told Music Ally ahead of the announcement.

“It shows the confidence of big investors like Orange and Access in the streaming model, and in the company. And it gives us the flexibility to continue the business in the next 2-3 years.”

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Access Industries fined $656k over Tango investment

Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries – parent company of Warner Music Group and significant investor in Deezer – is being fined over another of its investments: in social app Tango in 2014.

“Blavatnik, via his company Access Industries, purchased shares of TangoMe that brought the value of his stake in the company to approximately $228 million,” explained the Federal Trade Commission in its ruling against Blavatnik.

Posted inAnalysis, News

Beats spins off Daisy with $60m funding led by Access Industries

Beats’ decision to spin off its in-development streaming music service Daisy as a separate company isn’t a surprise, nor is its decision to raise $60m of funding to do it.

The lead investor may be more of a shock though: Access Industries. Yes, the same Access Industries, founded by Len Blavatnik, which both owns Warner Music Group and invested $130m in streaming service Deezer just five months ago, in October 2012.