Universal Music Acquires Denmark's MBO Group
Universal Music Acquires Denmark's MBO Group

Danish labels and publishing consortium MBO Group has been acquired by Universal Music Group (UMG), strengthening the major's hold of European domestic talent

The terms of the deal, which was announced by MBO co-founder Michael Ritto; Max Hole, UMG International's Chief Operating Officer; and Casper Bengtson, Managing Director, Universal Music Denmark, were not disclosed

The MBO Group comprises Danish labels Copenhagen Records, A:larm and RecArt, which collectively represent a number of leading Nordic acts, including Danish rock band Nephew, female pop artist Medina and urban-styled duo Nik & Jay. The agreement also includes rights to the catalog of one of Denmark's most popular and enduring acts, pop outfit Shu-Bi-Dua.

In addition to its Danish interests, MBO operates subsidiaries in other parts of Scandinavia, including Norwegian label MBN (Music Business Norway), Sweden's Roxy Recordings and Music Business Sweden. These will be aligned with Universal Music companies in those countries, according to a statement from UMG in which Max Hole praised "Michael Ritto and his creative teams" as "proven hit-makers."

"This deal will improve their hit-making muscle at home and abroad. We look forward to getting started," Hole went on to say.

"I am proud of what we've created in just seven years in a challenging period for the music business. At the same time, we as owners feel certain that the MBO labels will grow even stronger as part of Universal Music," added Michael Ritto in a statement

"There are a lot of 'classic' synergies but also many commercial possibilities in Denmark as well as internationally. We look forward to seeing our artists benefit from this collaboration," continued Ritto, who co-founded MBO Group in Copenhagen in 2004, with Nordisk Film A/S subsequently acquiring equity in the company.

Nordisk Film A/S has said that it will use proceeds from the sale of MBO Group to "focus and continue expanding our other activities in entertainment," according to a statement from Managing Director/CEO Allan Mathson Hansen.

According to the latest IFPI "Recording Industry in Numbers" report, Denmark is placed No. 21 in the world music market rankings, generating $102 million in trade value in 2010. Sweden was ranked at No. 16 with $136 million in total recorded music sales for the last calendar year.