The acquisition of U.K.-based reggae imprint Greensleeves by New York's VP Records adds an international reach to the world's largest independent reggae label at a time when sales are slipping.

VP obtained Greensleeves for $6.2 million in February from Zest Music, a publicly owned company, two years after Zest bought the label from founders Chris Cracknell and Chris Sedgewick for nearly $6 million. Zest chief executive Steve Weltman says he never intended "a turnaround sale," but the label's CD sales declined by 30% in the United States and the company's digital sales couldn't offset the deficit.

"Following preliminary discussions with Chris and Randy Chin [CEO and president, respectively, of VP Records], "they made a formal offer," Weltman says, "and our shareholders decided that selling Greensleeves would be in Zest's best interest."

Included in VP's purchase is the Greensleeves album catalog, featuring more than 400 titles by such hitmakers as Shaggy, Shabba Ranks and...

Click here for the full story, including the strategy behind the operation of the two labels, the consolidation plan, and why some are troubled by the acquisition.