Investors to receive third payback.

The Warner Music Group issued nearly $700 million in debt on Dec. 23 and will use the funds to pay equity shareholders a dividend and repurchase some of its common and preferred stock.

The bonds comprised about $250 million in floating rate notes due in 2011, $250 million in 9.45% senior discount notes due in 2014 and $200 million in floating rate notes due in 2014.

The move marks WMG's third return to investors since Edgar Bronfman Jr. and Thomas H. Lee Parters led a group to acquire the company in a leveraged buyout in March 2003. When the company replaced its bridge financing, the equity investors -- which initially put $1.1 billion toward the $2.6 billion acquisition -- got back about $150 million, and then in October received another $350 million paid out of cash. In the latest move, the company says, equity investors will receive about $680 million.

This means that the new owners have raised $2.55 billion in debt and have paid back the original equity investors about $1.18 billion.