The Libertines' co-founder Carl Barat has signed a new long-term and worldwide recording solo deal with Mercury Records imprint Vertigo.

The Libertines' co-founder Carl Barat has signed a new long-term and worldwide recording solo deal with Mercury Records imprint Vertigo.

Barat rose to international fame as guitarist, vocalist and co-songwriter for the British alternative rock band, whose future has been "put on hold" while he concentrates on his solo work.

"Carl is one of the greatest talents in modern music," Mercury Records U.K. managing director Greg Castell says of his new signing. "His contribution to the Libertines was fundamental to the band's success and we're delighted to have the opportunity of working closely with him".

The Libertines built a sizeable fanbase at home with their acclaimed debut album "Up the Bracket", which was issued in October 2002 through indie Rough Trade. To date, it has sold about 220,000 copies in Britain, according to a spokesman. Their eponymous follow-up album however achieved sales success to match its critical praise. Since opening at No. 1 on the U.K. albums chart in August 2004, the set has certified platinum for more than 300,000 sales. The band's future has been in doubt since Barat's songwriting partner Pete Doherty stepped aside following a string of well-documented drug related issues.

Barat, who is currently recovering from an operation to remove a benign tumour, plans to release his first solo set later this year. Alan McGee, the veteran label head who founded Creation Records and signed Oasis, will guide his solo career.

Barat is also forming a band that will include his former Libertine band mates. Whether this new project will completely replace the band is unclear.

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