Is this the next big major label acquisition?

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Sources speaking to MBW are suggesting that Century Media, the independent metal label founded in 1988, is the target of takeover interest from the likes of Sony and Universal – with the former favourite to get a deal over the line.

[Update: Sources are now suggesting that Sony has done the deal. Led by Doug Morris, we are told the purchase price was in the region of $17m.]

The company is apparently valued somewhere between $15m and $20m, and has more than 50 staff across the US and Europe.

Founded by Robert Kampfi and Oliver Withöft in Dortmund, Germany in 1988, Century has gone on to introduce bands such as In This Moment, Lacuna Coil, Moonspell, Nevermore (pictured), Shadows Fall, Suicide Silence and Winds of Plague.

Withöft died last year aged 49 after a long period of illness.

Century’s family also includes Magic Arts Publishing, Lonely Planet Publishing, Inside Out Music, Super Ball, Rock The Nation America and other merchandise and management subsidiaries.

If Century is bought by Sony, it will be the biggest major label acquisition since UMG snapped up music movie and TV programme maker Eagle Rock in April last year.

“As independent labels begin to consider taking back their digital rights from major distributors in the US market, this kind of acquisition will become more popular again,” one source predicted.

The rumours of interest in Century emerge three months after BMG acquired its rival, fellow metal label Rise Records, in a multi-million dollar deal.

Said BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch at the time: “We believe music offers tremendous potential – provided you recognise the rules of the game have changed.”

MBW understands that at least one major label head was disappointed to miss out on Rise; a motivating factor in their rumoured pursuit of Century Media.Music Business Worldwide

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