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Warner Music Group Plans To Go Public Again

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Warner Music Group today stated that it had filed a registration statement on Form S-1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for a proposed initial public offering of its common stock.

According to the announcement, the shares of common stock to be sold in this offering are intended to be sold by certain of Warner Music Group’s stockholders. The number of shares of common stock to be offered and the price range for the proposed offering have not yet been ascertained.

Warner Music Group, which was a public company under previous owners, went private in 2011 when Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries bought the company for $3.3 billion. Former chairman-CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. and his equity partners purchased the company from Time Warner in 2004 for $2.6 billion and took it public in 2005.

The inspiration for this move is not hard to understand: Universal Music Group, the world’s largest music company, recently was valued at $33 billion as part of its agreement to sell 10% of itself to a consortium led by Chinese tech giant Tencent.

In August of 2017, Goldman Sachs valued UMG at $23.5 billion — roughly three times what it was worth in 2013. With values of music companies skyrocketing at that rate over the past six-odd years, Blavatnik has decided the time is ripe to go public.

Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC are acting as joint book-running managers for the offering.

The announcement also states that a registration statement relating to these securities has been filed with the SEC but has not yet become effective. These securities may not be sold nor may offer to buy be accepted before the time the registration statement becomes effective.

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