Warner Music Group gains approval for IPO on Nasdaq

Access Industries founder Len Blavatnik

The plot thickens. On the very same day that The Hollywood Reporter claims that a Saudi Arabia-controlled fund may privately acquire Warner Music Group, the music company has announced that it has been approved to list its shares on the Nasdaq stock exchange in the US.

In an updated filing with the SEC today (May 7), Warner confirms: “We have been approved to list our Class A common stock on Nasdaq. We and the selling stockholders negotiated the initial public offering price per share with the representatives of the underwriters and, therefore, that price may not be indicative of the market price of our Class A common stock after this offering.”

The filing adds: “We cannot assure you that an active public market for our Class A common stock will develop after this offering or, if one does develop, that it will be sustained.”

The updated S1-A filing reiterates that, should Warner float on the Nasdaq, it will remain a ‘controlled company’ because WMG’s current 100% owner, Access Industries, will continue to control a majority of the total combined voting power of the firm’s outstanding common stock.

The filing reveals that Warner’s approved ticker symbol on the Nasdaq will be ‘WMG’.

In potentially conflicting news, The Hollywood Reporter published a story earlier today suggesting that Len Blavatnik is in discussions with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund over a potential sale of WMG worth in the region of $12.5bn.

The PIF – which invests on behalf of the Saudi government – recently bought a 5.7% stake in Live Nation, via the public markets, for a sum worth approximately $500m.

The Hollywood Reporter suggests that the fund attempted to buy a minority slice of Warner for $750m from Blavatnik earlier this year, but was rebuffed as Access pressed ahead with its IPO plan.

That IPO plan is now under question due to market volatility caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.Music Business Worldwide

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