In late October, reports suggested that Lyor Cohen-founded 300 Entertainment, the record label behind Megan Thee Stallion and Young Thug, was looking to sell for north of $400 million. Now, Warner Music Group (WMG) has officially purchased the nine-year-old business.
The Big Three record label announced the 300 Entertainment acquisition – which brought a price tag in the ballpark of the $400 million asking price, according to the Financial Times – in a general release that was emailed to Digital Music News.
Worth highlighting here is that 300 inked a distribution deal with WMG’s Atlantic upon arriving on the scene in 2012, with current YouTube global head of music Lyor Cohen having served as the major label’s CEO and president of recorded music between 2004 and 2012.
300 Entertainment’s other co-founders – Roger Gold, Todd Moscowitz, and Kevin Liles – have also held executive roles at Warner Music Group and its subsidiaries, including a more than 17-year-long stint for Gold.
But Liles – who was Warner Music’s EVP between 2004 and 2009 and has been 300’s CEO since 2017 – is set to rejoin the WMG team, the publicly traded company likewise disclosed. In addition to continuing as CEO of 300 Entertainment, the 53-year-old will begin to oversee Elektra Music Group, consisting of labels such as Roadrunner Records and Fueled By Ramen.
Notwithstanding this added oversight responsibility for Liles, though, WMG made clear that Elektra “will continue to be headed by Co-Presidents Mike Easterlin and Gregg Nadel, who will report to Liles.” Moreover, 300 Entertainment is expected to “retain its independent identity,” with “the entirety of its team” still occupying a separate New York City headquarters than Warner Music, which is also based out of the Big Apple.
During today’s trading hours, Warner Music Group stock (NASDAQ: WMG) parted with 2.64 percent of its value, for a per-share price of $40.89. The figure reflects a double-digit boost across the last year and the latter six months, but a nearly nine percent dip since mid-November.
More broadly, the purchase represents the latest in a long line of massive plays from the Big Three record labels in 2021. Amid continued (streaming-driven) revenue growth for Warner, Sony, and Universal, the entities have dropped a cumulative total of billions on Zhara Music, Som Livre ($250 million), 12Tone Music, Coleske, AWAL (a $430 million deal that’s facing regulatory scrutiny in the UK), Rotana Music (reportedly $250 million), and a NetEase stake ($100 million).
Of course, these investments and buyouts don’t include the additional billions that the majors have spent on the catalogs of Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, David Guetta, Madonna, Bob Dylan, and others during the last year or so.