In its second deal of the day, BMG Rights Management has acquired the Mute back catalog owned by EMI, which includes records released by artists like Depeche Mode, Erasure, Moby, Goldfrapp and Nick Cave.
According to sources, BMG paid over 7 million pounds, or between $11 and $14 million, for the assets it acquired. While BMG acquired the Mute catalog assets, the Mute label itself is unaffected by the deal and remains a separate stand-alone entity, which releases records by such artists as M83 and the Liars.
The Mute catalog was part of the assets that the Universal Music Group agreed to divest in order to get regulatory clearance buy most of EMI's recorded-music division. In addition to the Mute catalog, Universal also agreed to divest EMI's Parlophone and Chrysalis catalogs and its own Sanctuary catalog.
While BMG has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the Mute catalog, the deal is pending the approval of the EU, which mandated the sales of the assets.
Earlier today, BMG confirmed that it had acquired the so-called "Rosetta" publishing catalog, containing rights to Virgin and Famous Songs -- which needed to be offloaded in order for the consortium led by Sony/ATV to acquire it -- for what sources say was $90 million. While BMG, which is a joint venture between Bertelsmann and private-equity firm KKR, is largely made up of publishing assets, its game plan from the beginning has always included master rights of classic recordings, so the Mute catalog acquisition is in line with its strategy.
"Per our agreement with the European Commission, we have begun the sale process of divested assets with the acquisition of the Mute Catalogue by BMG Rights Management," UMG said in a statement. "We know that BMG will provide a good home for Mute's artists. Moving forward, we are confident that with our sales strategy and the number of parties that have expressed interest in the remaining assets, we will be able to create exactly the level of value that we would expect from the quality of these divestments."
Reps for BMG were unavailable to comment at press time.