Universal Music Group has acquired a minority stake in independent music company [PIAS] for an undisclosed sum.
The deal, which sees UMG acquire a 49% stake in the [PIAS] Group, follows the formation of a strategic global alliance between the two companies in June 2021.
According to the press release issued on Wednesday (November 30), under their new agreement, “[PIAS] will remain fully independent, and its founders Kenny Gates and Michel Lambot will retain majority control of the company”.
The release adds that “UMG will have no seats on the company’s board”.
[PIAS] has over 300 employees and two core divisions: the [PIAS] Label Group, which oversees the company’s various record label interests and [Integral] Distribution and Label Services, which provides support to its own, in-house labels and over 100 independent label partners around the world.
Some of those label partners include ATO, Beggars Group, Bella Union, Chrysalis, Domino, Epitaph, LSO, Mute, Ninja Tune, Partisan, Secretly Group, Transgressive and Warp.
Commenting on the deal, Sir Lucian Grainge, Chairman & CEO, Universal Music Group, said: “The boldly independent and music-centric culture that Kenny and Michel have built over the last four decades has provided a vital creative network to so many artists.”
“The boldly independent and music-centric culture that Kenny and Michel have built over the last four decades has provided a vital creative network to so many artists.”
Sir Lucian Grainge, Universal Music Group
Added Sir Lucian Grainge: “While much of the past was focused on ‘majors versus indies,’ it’s clear that today, the important divide in our industry is about those committed to artist development versus those committed to quantity over quality.
“We share Kenny and Michel’s passion for developing artists and moving culture, and we recognize that a healthy music ecosystem needs companies like [PIAS] who are committed to amplifying the best voices in independent music.”
“We have enjoyed an excellent relationship with the Universal Music Group team since we announced our strategic global alliance with them last year.”
Michel Lambot, [PIAS]
Michel Lambot, Co-Founder of [PIAS], said: “We have enjoyed an excellent relationship with the Universal Music Group team since we announced our strategic global alliance with them last year.
“Kenny and I are celebrating our company’s 40th anniversary this year and we are still as ambitious as we were when we started out about growing our global presence and providing a world class service to the independent music community.”
“These days we are competing with finance and tech giants and a partner like Universal Music Group provides the additional support for us to compete and grow.”
Kenny Gates, [PIAS]
Kenny Gates, Co-Founder and CEO of [PIAS] said: “These days we are competing with finance and tech giants and a partner like Universal Music Group provides the additional support for us to compete and grow.
“Universal made it clear that they like us, they trust us and they need us, because they can’t do what we do and they value it highly.
“For Michel and I this is our life’s work and an ongoing journey and I am excited about the prospect of this new chapter in the life of [PIAS] . This move makes us stronger and secures the future of our brand, our staff and our partners while maintaining control of our destiny.”
Today’s news comes two months after the expiration (on September 21, 2022) of Universal Music Group’s 10-year ban in Europe on re-acquiring any asset – or re-signing any artist – involved in its EMI-related divestments.
MBW recently pointed out, that following the expiry of its post-EMI restrictions in September, Universal would be legally free to approach [PIAS] with a minority or majority equity acquisition offer.Music Business Worldwide