Kobalt Sells A Controlling Interest to Francisco Partners – Willard Ahdritz, Others Will Stay On Board

Kobalt sells controlling interest to Francisco partners

Photo Credit: PE Insights

Kobalt has sold a controlling interest in its business to media-focused investment firm Francisco Partners.

Willard Ahdritz will continue as Kobalt’s Chairman, and the company will continue to be led by its existing management team. That includes Laurent Hubert (CEO), Jeannette Perez (President & COO), Catrin Drabble (CFO), and Nuno Guerreiro (CTO). Kobalt was founded by Ahdritz as a music and technology company for artists, songwriters, publishers, and labels to have an alternative to the traditional music business model.

“For over 20 years, Kobalt has been a music leader with technology as a core part of our focus, and I can’t think of a better investor than Francisco Partners to back our vision and invest deeply in our ambitious technology development and creator services,” adds Willard Ahdritz, Kobalt Founder and Chairman.

“Having known the team at Francisco Partners for two years, I am excited to invite them into the Kobalt family. I look forward to working with them as Kobalt Chairman. This backing is a testament to what we’ve built at Kobalt, and we will continue working to improve the industry for our clients,” Ahdritz continues. “I would also like to make a special point to thank all those who believed in Kobalt from the start – investors, clients, and employees who all contributed to building this great company, thereby changing the game for creators.”

Alongside Francisco Partners, MUSIC and Dundee partners are also investing in Kobalt. Matt Pincus, CEO of MUSIC, will join the Board of Directors for Kobalt after the deal closes. The investment is subject to customary regulatory and closing conditions.

“Our investment should help bring more resources, experience, and alignment to continue to build Kobalt as a premier destination for creators, further grow AMRA as the only global digital licensing platform, and support and invest in technology innovation across the entire Kobalt ecosystem to address the needs of creators and publishers,” adds Matt Spetzler, Partner at Francisco Partners.

Situated across 13 global offices, Kobalt serves over 700,000 songs and represents some of the biggest songwriters in the world. Roddy Ricch, Max Martin, FINNEAS, Karol G, Andrew Watt, Stevie Nicks, Phoebe Bridgers, Paul McCartney, and many more. On average, Kobalt represents 40% of the top 100 songs and albums in the US and UK at any given time.