Sale of Bertelsmann’s Stake in Sony BMG to Sony is Concluded
The sale of Bertelsmann’s 50-percent stake in the Sony BMG music company to its former joint-venture partner Sony has cleared all antitrust hurdles and was finalized on October 1, 2008. The purchase price for the holding has changed hands, and the music company, to be called Sony Music Entertainment Inc. (SMEI), is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Sony Corporation of America.
SMEI is comprised of premier music labels such as: Arista Records, Columbia Records, Epic Records, J Records, Jive Records, RCA Records, and Zomba. Key recording artists include Celine Dion, Alicia Keys, Yo-Yo Ma, Bruce Springsteen, Justin Timberlake, Usher and Jay Chou.
In the wake of its withdrawal from the recorded-music business, Bertelsmann will be gearing its own music business to music rights management. BMG Rights Management will represent authors and artists, mainly in Europe, in all aspects of building, managing and marketing their rights, under the established BMG brand. It is thereby responding to a strong trend in the music industry, towards service provision. The initial basis for the company’s business is formed by selected European music catalogs which BMG Rights Management will be retaining from the former joint venture with Sony. They include the works of more than 200 artists. The new company under the management of the experienced music executive Hartwig Masuch will be managed as a line of business in the Corporate Investments department.
About Sony Corporation
Sony Corporation is a leading manufacturer of audio, video, game, communications, key device and information technology products for the consumer and professional markets. With its music, pictures, computer entertainment and on-line businesses, Sony is uniquely positioned to be the leading electronics and entertainment company in the world. Sony recorded consolidated annual sales of approximately $88.7 billion for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2008. Son
About Bertelsmann AG
Bertelsmann is an international media company encompassing television (RTL Group), book publishing (Random House), magazine publishing (Gruner + Jahr), media services (Arvato), and media clubs (Direct Group) in more than 50 countries. Bertelsmann’s claim is to inspire people around the world with first-class media and communications offerings – entertainment, information and services – and occupy leading positions in its respective markets. The foundation of Bertelsmann’s success is a corporate culture based on partnership, entrepreneurial spirit, creativity, and corporate responsibility. The company strives to bring creative new ideas to market and create value.