Concord Music Acquires Film Score Record Label Varèse Sarabande

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Concord Music

The company's latest purchase involves a catalog records with records by composers such as Jerry Goldsmith, Bernard Herrmann, Danny Elfman and Hans Zimmer.

Concord Music has acquired Varèse Sarabande, the film score record label, in the second acquisition announced by the company in a week. Previously, Concord Music announced that it had acquired the Tams-Witmark catalog, which includes a library of musical theater shows. Terms of the deals were not disclosed.   

While Billboard was unable to determine any financial information about the Tams-Witmark acquisition, sources suggest that the Varèse Sarabande label -- which has 2,000 soundtracks and albums from composers -- had annual revenue of about $8 million, of which about about $4 billion was net label share or gross profit. Further sources suggest that Concord paid in the range of $20 million to $25 million.   

As part of the deal, Concord Music has retained Varèse Sarabande's staff and merged it into its own Craft Recording catalog team, which will now be handling records by such composers as Jerry Goldsmith, Bernard Herrmann, Danny Elfman and Hans Zimmer, as well as such scores as Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri by composer Carter Burwell. Moreover, the Varèse Vintage imprint specializes in releasing new and re-issued albums by classic pop, jazz and country artists.   

"The acquisition of Varèse Sarabande continues to strengthen Concord's position as a leader in the industry," stated Concord Music chief business development officer Steve Salm, who negotiated both deals for Concord. "On the 40th anniversary of the storied Varèse Sarabande brand, we are proud to take over this prolific legacy and catalog and, most importantly, continue to invest and grow the film score/soundtrack market."

In fact, prior to the deal Concord Music and Varèse Sarabande shared common ownership in that Concord Music is majority-owned for institutional investors by Barings Asset Management, which sources say also had a minority stake in the film music label. Barings Assets Management is an investment management unit of the Mass Mutual insurance company and was created by a roll-up of three or four investment firms owned by Mass Mutual, including Woodcreek Capital Management, which initially made the investments in Bicycle Music, Varèse Sarabande and Concord Music, now all merged under one roof. 

Varèse was acquired from  Film Score Records, an investor group led and managed by the Cutting Edge Group, with Michael Poster from Michelman & Robinson serving as the company's legal advisor in the deal. 

Even with the acquisition, Concord plans for Varèse Sarabande to continue to release music from film studios. Meanwhile, Cutting Edge plans to continue to focus on its core business of funding, creating and acquiring music for feature films and television; and as part of the acquisition deal, Concord Music has entered into a multi-year distribution and service agreement with Cutting Edge, covering its existing catalog of soundtracks as well as future releases. 

Varèse Sarabrande CEO Darren Blumenthal, who will remain at Cutting Edge, says he "looks forward to continuing our successful partnership with the combined Concord/Varèse Sarabande."

Meanwhile, Concord Music, one of the most active music companies involved in acquisitions of music and publishing assets, says it will place the Tams-Witmark Music Library -- with that company's president Sarge Aborn, staying onboard to care and cultivate the catalog of shows -- alongside its investments in the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization; the Musical Company joint venture with the Really Useful Group and the Marvin Hamlish theatrical legacy. The Barron International Group served as financial advisor to Tams-Witmark in the transaction.

The Tams-Witmark catalog includes over 120 titles from such composers as Cole Porter, George and Ira Gershwin, Cy Coleman and Jule Styne; as well as such musicals as Anything Goes, Bye Bye Birder, You're a Good Man Charlie Brown, The Wizard of Oz and Gypsy.

"As we expand our theatrical licensing business, I can think of no better person to have on our team than Sarge Aborn," Concord Music CEO Scott Pascucci said in a statement. "His unmatched knowledge and experience will be integral in maintaining and building upon the already wonderful catalog of Tams-Witmark. We are very happy to welcome the Tams-Witmark team into our family."