Warner steps up acquisitions hunt with hire of Heath Kudler

Heath Kudler has been appointed Executive Vice President, Global Repertoire Acquisition, for Warner Music Group (WMG).

In this newly created position, Kudler will be ‘exploring a broad range of opportunities to expand the company’s musical portfolio, including bringing new artists, labels, and master catalogues into the WMG fold’.

Kudler, who previously held senior business & legal affairs positions at Epic Records and Island Def Jam, is based at WMG’s New York headquarters and reports to Stu Bergen, WMG’s CEO, International and Global Commercial Services.

As covered on MBW late last year, Warner has acquired no less than five international businesses in the past three years.

It snapped up Russia’s Gala Records in mid-2013, adding South Africa’s Gallo Records later that year – a move that has allowed WMG to completely manage the release of its own repertoire across Africa.

The next year it acquired Gold Typhoon, which owns one of the biggest collections of local pop and rock music from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan in existence. And in 2015 it bought Poland’s oldest record label, Polskie Nagrania.

Stu Bergen - taken in London.jpg (3)

“Heath will be a tremendous asset as we leave no stone unturned to bring the world’s best music into the wmg family.”

Stu Bergen, WMG

The biggest acquisition move by WMG, backed by cash from Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries, has been Parlophone – which it bought for £487m ($765m) in 2013.

That buyout brought a host of premium catalogues into WMG including Blur, Pink Floyd, Kate Bush, David Guetta, Radiohead and Coldplay – as well as the classic recordings of David Bowie.

“With two decades of music industry experience under his belt, Heath has developed invaluable relationships across the globe, and he comes to WMG with a unique range and depth of involvement with both the business and creative communities,” said Stu Bergen.

“We are constantly seeking to enhance and expand WMG’s outstanding roster of artists and labels, and Heath will be a tremendous asset as we leave no stone unturned to bring the world’s best music into the WMG family.”

“I’m thrilled to be joining WMG at this dynamic time in the company’s illustrious history,” said Heath Kudler.

“There’s a wealth of music in the world looking for the right home, and WMG’s artist-centric culture makes it the most welcoming environment for talent that spans genres and eras.

“I can’t wait to work with the fantastic WMG team across the globe, and I thank Steve Cooper and Stu Bergen for this wonderful opportunity.”

Prior to joining WMG, Kudler was with Epic Records from 2011 to 2014, most recently serving as EVP of Business & Legal Affairs. H

e previously spent 15 years at Island Def Jam Music Group, where he moved up the ranks from legal intern at the company’s Mercury label to IDJ’s SVP of Business & Legal Affairs. Kudler earned his JD degree from Brooklyn Law School in 1996.Music Business Worldwide

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