German media giant Bertelsmann is in “advanced talks” to buy out global investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts’ (KKR) majority stake in their JV music company, BMG Rights Management, the NY Post reports.
A deal is apparently “imminent,” according to unnamed sources quoted in the published article. But there’s no ball-park figure given for the sum Bertelsmann would have to pay KKR, which owns a 51% stake in the music company.
A Bertelsmann spokesperson tells Billboard.biz the company has "no comment" on the matter.
BMG began life as a specialist music publisher, but it made a big play in the independent catalog space when it bought the Sanctuary label from Universal Music.
BMG launched after Bertelsmann had disengaged from the Sony BMG joint venture, which begun in 2004 and ended four years later when Sony acquired the 50% of the company it didn’t already own.
Now, BMG Rights Management is sitting on a sizeable warchest and recent developments have signalled that it’s in an acquisitive – and expansive -- mood.
BMG and Sony Music Entertainment teamed up again to jointly bid for the catalog of Parlophone Records. Warner Music Group, however, walked away with the celebrated former EMI catalog.
The latest news follows reports in the NY Post last year that the partnership between Bertelsmann and KKR may dissolve if its JV wasn’t able to obtain UMG’s divested EMI assets.