Universal Music Group has taken a tighter grip on the merchandising business through the acquisition of Atmosphere Apparel.

UMG has struck a deal to buy the U.K.-based music merch firm, owned and founded by Mark Stredwick, for an undisclosed sum. Following the transaction, Atmosphere will continue as a stand-alone business, according to UMG, and will remain headed by managing director Stredwick.

Atmosphere holds international merchandising rights for such artists as
Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bryan Adams, Def Leppard, Rage Against
the Machine and Lostprophets.

UMG already owns the Bravado business, one of the biggest names in the merch game, through an agreement last summer to buy and subsequently integrate Sanctuary Group, the former owner of Bravado.

In a statement unveiling its latest acquisition, Lucian Grainge, chairman and CEO, Universal Music Group International, today comments, "Atmosphere is a dynamic, innovative player in music and entertainment merchandising, and we're very pleased to be in this new partnership with Mark." He adds, "With plans for investment and growth, Universal Music Group's deepening commitment to merchandising in both the touring and retail sectors is good news for all artists, brands and entertainers signed to it."

Stredwick said the deal "allows us to maintain our reputation as a truly artist-friendly merchandise company, whilst benefiting from the global expertise of UMG's distribution network."