BMG has bought out Clive Davis’ 50% stake in J Records and will combine it in a new division with RCA, Billboard Bulletin reports. Davis, who has been chairman/CEO of J since he launched it as a joint venture with BMG in 2000, will serve as chairman of the two labels, which will comprise the new RCA Music Group. The labels will continue to operate independently and will maintain their separate offices, Davis tells Bulletin.
“I have to think of how to broaden and create a new creative power for BMG,” says the major label’s chairman/CEO, Rolf Schmidt-Holtz. “If you have the best man in the music industry around and can combine RCA and J, you have to do that to position BMG as a stronger major.”
Terms of the J acquisition were not disclosed, although Davis defines it as “very fair.” At the time it was formed, sources valued the label at $170 million. Davis says, “My first order of business is to bring home every record on both labels. I have to make sure no beat is lost on the existing records that are out. Then it’s to sit down and really familiarize myself with [RCA’s] music and A&R staff.”
Meanwhile, Schmidt-Holtz confirms that he expects the acquisition of Zomba, valued at about $3 billion, to be completed by year’s end. He stresses that Zomba label Jive — which boasts artists such as Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, and R. Kelly — will not be folded into Arista or RCA, despite rumors to the contrary. “I’m quite confident that we’ll have a deal by the end of the year, and BMG stands on three creative pillars: RCA Group under Clive, Arista, and Jive/Zomba.”