Warner Music Group Acquires 300 Entertainment in $400M Deal
The official announcement of the deal will also mean Kevin Liles takes over as chairman/CEO of 300 and Elektra Music Group.
300 Entertainment, the independent music company that is home to Megan Thee Stallion, Young Thug, Gunna, Fetty Wap, Highly Suspect and more, has been purchased by the Warner Music Group, the companies announced today (Dec. 16). News of the acquisition — which sources tell Billboard is for around $400 million — was first reported by Billboard earlier this month.
As part of the deal, 300 co-founder and CEO Kevin Liles has been appointed chairman/CEO of both 300, which will remain a standalone entity, and Elektra Music Group, which encompasses Fueled By Ramen, Roadrunner Records, DTA, Low Country Sound and Public Consumption. Elektra co-presidents Gregg Nadel and Mike Easterlin will continue to run Elektra, but will now report to Liles moving forward.
“At 300, we’re all about freedom — the freedom to create, the freedom to be intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs, the freedom to make music that changes the world,” Liles said in a statement announcing the deal. “Independence is in our DNA and the team at Warner is like family, which makes this a natural evolution for us to do bigger family business. It’s the perfect home for 300 artists and our team, as we invest in our independent vision and grow our global impact. Max [Lousada], Julie [Greenwald], Gregg and Mike — these are leaders we know and trust. They understand the value we place on independence, individuality and creativity. We’re going to accomplish amazing things together and take our artists and labels to a whole new global level.”
The acquisition by Warner represents a return to the company for Liles, who served as executive vp of the Warner Music Group under chairman and CEO of recorded music Lyor Cohen — a co-founder in 300 — from 2004 until 2009. 300 — founded by Cohen, Liles, current Alamo Records chief Todd Moscowitz and artist manager Roger Gold in 2012 — has been distributed by Warner’s Atlantic Records since its inception. Further, Liles spent more than a decade as a top executive at Def Jam and the Island Def Jam Music Group, where he worked with Cohen and Atlantic co-chairman/COO Julie Greenwald, who has been at Atlantic since 2004.
“I’ve enjoyed working with Lyor and Kevin for over 30 years,” Greenwald said in a statement. “I can’t thank Lyor enough for everything, including entrusting us with 300. I’m excited we’re moving forward with Kevin — he’s always thinking about the future, especially the future of his artists and the future of his company, and how to ensure they thrive and impact culture. Since we launched EMG as a standalone label group in 2018, Mike and Gregg have been driven by an adventurous spirit, and they’ve done an incredible job developing brilliant artists and building a fantastic team. By bringing 300 into the fold, we’re creating a truly multi-genre operation designed to attract and nurture superstar talent across the musical spectrum.”
Since the label’s founding, 300 has had a string of hits from the likes of Fetty Wap, Migos, Young Thug and Megan Thee Stallion, the latter of whom won best new artist at the 2021 Grammy Awards. Cohen and Moscowitz left the label in 2016 — the former to join YouTube, the latter to found his own company, which became Alamo — which left Liles as CEO of the company. (Cohen, in a statement, said, “Wonderful to see a good idea realized. 300 is a way of life and is in very good hands.”) And Liles’ efforts over the years have led to a number of accolades, including being named to Billboard’s Indie Power Players, Power 100 and honored as Executive of the Year on Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop Power Players list in 2020, among other honors.
“At Warner Music, the independent spirit is part of our story, our DNA and our vision,” Warner Music CEO recorded music Max Lousada said in a statement. “We’re creating the environment for original artists, entrepreneurs and labels to pioneer the future of music. The 300 team has built an extraordinary brand, attracted a dynamic community of artists and led the way for a new generation of labels. We’ll bring their artists and team a whole universe of opportunities to ignite passionate fanbases and develop long-term careers. We’re very happy to welcome 300 fully into the Warner community of labels, and Kevin to his new role on our senior management team.”
Warner Music Group — which went public in June 2020 — raised $540 million through a sale of 3.75% senior secured notes offering to help fund three acquisitions worth $710 million, the company announced Nov. 17. It was said at the time the company had signed non-binding letters of intent for the three deals.
“All of the labels in the Elektra family were founded by entrepreneurs who are passionate about music and always put their artists first,” Nadel and Easterlin said in a statement. “That philosophy drives everything we do, and we know that Kevin and the team at 300 are cut from the same cloth. We’re looking forward to putting our heads and hearts together and delivering for our phenomenal talent.”