Warner Music Group has reached an agreement to buy the European music and entertainment merch e-tailer EMP Merchandising Handelsgesellschaft mbH (EMP) for an undisclosed sum.
The music major will acquire EMP from its current owners Sycamore Partners, the NYC-based private equity firm based, according to a statement, and, following completion, EMP will operate as a stand-alone, direct-to-fan business unit within WEA, WMG’s global artist and label services division, headed by president Tony Harlow.
EMP has “built a powerful lifestyle destination that will be a perfect complement to our global artist development and marketing strategies,” comments Stu Bergen, CEO of International & Global Commercial Services, Recorded Music, WMG, in the statement. “Their music-led expertise will give us great insight into what audiences love and what they want, and at the same time open up exciting new opportunities for our artists. We look forward to bringing Ernst, Jan, and everyone at EMP into WMG’s growing family of brands.”
Max Lousada, CEO of Recorded Music, WMG added, “Welcoming EMP will be our latest move to expand our relationships with influencers across the globe.”
Founded in Germany in 1986, EMP is led by CEO Ernst Trapp and CFO Jan Fischer, who will continue to manage the unit going forward. Currently, EMP offers merch from such bands as Twenty One Pilots, Panic! At The Disco, Metallica, Motörhead, Guns ‘n Roses, Nirvana, Pink Floyd, AC/DC, The Doors, and entertainment powerhouses Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, Harry Potter and more. EMP’s network of websites serve 18 European markets.
According to WMG, the acquisition is expected to complete in the fourth quarter, subject to meeting certain conditions including competition authority approval. It’s the latest in a raft of new acquisitions for WMG’s recorded music business, including A&R data startup Sodatone, youth media brand UPROXX, electronic label Spinnin’ Records and the concert discovery platform Songkick.