Warner owner Len Blavatnik is Britain’s richest billionaire

Access Industries founder Len Blavatnik

Len Blavatnik, whose Access Industries acquired Warner Music Group for US $3.3bn in 2011, is the richest person living in Britain.

That’s according to The Sunday Times’ annual Rich List, which reports that Ukrainian-born Blavatnik has amassed a personal fortune worth £13.17bn.

To put that into context: if Credit Suisse is correct that Universal Music Group deserves a valuation of close to €10bn, then – with a bit of bartering over the odd billion – Blavatnik would be able to afford to buy it outright twice over. (Not that UMG is for sale, of course.)

Blavatnik is also 18 times, or 1704%, richer than the wealthiest musician in the UK & Ireland, Sir Paul McCartney, whose own fortune is estimated at £730m.

The Sunday Times Rich List estimates wealth across land, property, assets or investment, but excludes individual bank accounts.

Which probably means Blavatnik is worth quite a bit more than the figure quoted. Nice work if you can get it.

“with £13.17bn, Blavatnik is 18 times – or 1704% – richer than sir paul mccartney.”

Blavatnik was fourth on the Rich List last year, but has since seen his wealth rise by more than £3bn.

Meanwhile, Warner Music Group posted a net loss of $303m for its last financial year, in the 12 months to end of September 2014. It continues to carry a total debt in excess of $3bn.

Blavatnik’s investment vehicle, Access Industries, acquired an undisclosed stake in streaming service Deezer for $130m in 2012.

The exec takes the Rich List No.1 spot from brothers Sri and Gopi Hinduja. They move down to No.2, despite their fortune rising by £1.1 billion to £13 billion in the past year.

When Blavatnik’s Access bought Warner in 2011, he said: “Warner Music Group is a great company with a strong heritage and home to many exceptional artists.”

He later helped steer WMG’s acquisition of Parlophone Label Group from rival Universal for £487m, calling it a “defining moment for Warner Music”.

In terms of the richest musicians, Sir Paul McCartney is comfortably ahead of No.2 on the list, Andrew Lloyd Webber, who is worth an estimated £650 million.

Adele, estimated to be worth £50 million, is the richest young musician on the list.

According to the Sunday Times, the number of billionaires in Britain has more than doubled since 2005.

 Music Business Worldwide

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