Under the terms of the agreement, the Grammy Award-winning producers and entrepreneurs will also join the Triller Verzuz management team to help oversee music and other company strategies.
Financial details of the transaction weren’t disclosed. However, as a result, Timbaland and Swizz Beatz have become large shareholders in Triller Network and in turn have allocated part of their equity stake to the 46 performers who’ve appeared on Verzuz to date.
Performers coming aboard as shareholders and partners include John Legend, DMX, Alicia Keys, Ashanti, 2 Chainz, Rick Ross, Too $hort, Patti LaBelle, Gucci Mane, Jeezy, E-40, Bounty Killer, D’Angelo, Ludacris, RZA, The Dream, Babyface, Nelly, Jagged Edge, Keyshia Cole, Fred Hammond, Jadakiss, Fabolous, Brandy, Monica, Gladys Knight, Boi-1da, Hit-Boy, Ne-Yo, Johnta Austin, Teddy Riley, Scott Storch, T-Pain, Lil Jon, DJ Premier, Mannie Fresh, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, 112, Kirk Franklin, Sean Garrett and D’Angelo.
“There is no more disruptive and innovative brand in music today than Verzuz,” said Bobby Sarnevesht, executive chairman and co-owner of Triller, in announcing the acquisition. “Both Triller and Verzuz share the ‘artist first, music first’ vision. We view this acquisition as more of a partnership than an acquisition, as Swizz, Timbaland and the other 43 artists who are all becoming shareholders and partners in Triller Verzuz from this day forward become our voice.”
Sarnevesht and fellow Triller Network co-controlling shareholder Ryan Kavanaugh jointly noted, “In our generation, Verzuz has made a bigger impact on music than any other company we know. With this acquisition, Triller continues its evolution to be at the center of culture and the center of music. Who better to help shape Triller’s music future than the top artists in the world overseen by Timbaland and Swizz?”
Swizz Beatz and Timbaland added, “This is a momentous occasion not only for Verzuz and Triller but the music business as a whole. By putting Verzuz in the Triller Network ecosystem and expanding the Verzuz brand to be side by side with the powerful Triller app, we will be able to continue to grow and evolve the music business as a whole, as we have been doing. To have partners in Triller who share our vision, specifically to celebrate and elevate the amazing artists who continue to shape culture around the world and give the consumer more direct access, is game changing.”
The pair continued, “We couldn’t be happier to be elevating Verzuz and Triller and to recognize, in a very real way, all of the artists who have helped make Verzuz the global phenomenon it is today. Our dream, the artists’ dream, today is realized, which is no small feat. Triller Verzuz is a company that’s by the artists, for the artists and with the people.”
Global firm PJT Partners advised Verzuz on the transaction.
Pairing popular artists from the worlds of R&B, hip-hop, dancehall and gospel, Verzuz was launched in March 2020 in the wake of COVID-19. Since then, the platform has boosted sales and streams for its featured artists in addition to accumulating more than 5 billion impressions. Verzuz has also expanded into sports with its recent NFL collaboration, NFL Pro Bowl Verzuz. Future plans include more sport verticals as well as ventures into comedy and live events.
In addition to its Triller app, whose create-and-share video technology has been utilized by athletes, celebrities and artists such as Cardi B, Marshmello and Roddy Ricch, Triller Network has created campaigns with Pepsi, McDonald’s and L’Oréal, among other brands. It’s also home to TrillerTV and Triller Fight Club.