As first reported here last week, London-based independent the Beggars Group has finalized a 50% acquisition of Matador Records.
As first reported here  last week, London-based independent the Beggars Group has finalized a 50% acquisition of Matador Records. As expected, the Beggars Group -- home of the Beggars Banquet, 4AD, XL, Mantra, Too Pure, Wiija, and Mo'Wax imprints -- will move its U.S. offices to Matador's Manhattan offices. Beggars CEO Leslie Bleakley and Matador heads Chris Lombardi and Gerard Cosloy will continue to run their respective companies.
The acquisition marks the third label partnership in a decade for 13-year-old Matador, whose roster includes the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Guided By Voices, Mogwai, and Yo La Tengo. Capitol Records owned 49% of the company from 1996-99, but Cosloy and Lombardi ultimately bought back the major's interest. From 1993-96, some Matador titles were distributed by Atlantic.
"It is going to be a great opportunity to be working with both the artists and the staff at Matador," Bleakley said in a statement. "I am looking forward to the upcoming challenge. The heart and soul of Matador parallels the core philosophy held at the Beggars Group, fiercely independent and artist friendly. I anticipate that the new company will be one of the strongest leading forces in the modern independent sector."
"We are thrilled to be working within such a terrific company," Lombardi added. "All of us are looking forward to work side by side with [Beggars founder/chairman] Martin [Mills], Lesley, and the rest of the Beggars staff. Our ability to expand the scope of our distribution in Europe as well as to supplement our US catalog through our Matador Direct retail department is truly exciting. It should be a very impressive line, making Matador Direct and the enhanced Beggars Group a force to reckon with."
Among Beggars' current artists are U.K. rock act Super Furry Animals, singer/songwriter Badly Drawn Boy, Cornershop, and former Slowdive principal Neil Halstead. The new combined label group will boast an impressive back catalog, with titles from such acts as Pavement, the Pixies, Stereolab, PJ Harvey, Dead Can Dance, and the White Stripes, among others.
- News