Universal Music Group readying €7m swoop for Croatia’s biggest label, say sources

Universal Music Group is reportedly in negotiations to buy one of South-East Europe’s biggest independent labels, Croatia Records, for somewhere in the region of €7m.

Croatia Records is the largest record label in Croatia. According to IFPI figures it claimed six of the ten bestselling albums in Croatia in 2013, and is understood to own around 70% of the total market.

CR’s vast local catalogue includes more than 50,000 copyrights, featuring major Croatian artists including Feminnem, Baruni, Mate Bulić, Daleka obala, Oliver Dragojević, Doris Dragović and Dino Dvornik. It was founded in 1947 as Jugoton and renamed in 1990.

Local press reports suggest that Universal could buy the label outright or engineer some kid of joint venture. Croatia Records co-owned Želimir Babogredac confirmed that “negotiations are ongoing” with UMG.

The news comes in the same month that Warner Music Group snapped up Poland’s oldest record label from the country’s government for €1.9m.

Fabian Stilko, general manager of Universal Music for the Western Balkans said: “Universal Music [has been in] the Croatian market since 2009 and all the while developing its activity and stronger local presence.

“We have recently started to take under our wing regional and local performers and we will continue to strengthen our contribution to the local culture.

“Following these initiatives, we are always open for the possibility of cooperation with local discography that might help us in our strategy and therefore we are constantly in talks with [various parties].”Music Business Worldwide

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