After four years of recriminations and in-fighting between executives from Sony Music and executives from BMG Music Entertainment, Tokyo-based Sony Corp has decided to end the mutual pain of a controversial merger and take full control of Sony BMG.
Artists like Beyonce, Bruce Springsteen and Justin Timberlake will now record under a new banner: Sony Music Entertainment Inc.
The FT had reported in June that Bertelsmann was looking for $1.2 billion-$1.5 billion for its 50 percent stake in Sony BMG, but it looks like the German media company settled for $600 million-$900 million — the exact sum depends on how you do the math.
Basically, Sony said it is paying $600 million cash to Bertelsmann, which will also get half of another $600 million in cash on Sony BMG’s balance sheet for a grand total of $900 million. The deal values Sony BMG at $1.2 billion. (UPDATE: You can argue that half of Sony BMG’s cash belonged to Sony, so its total cost was $900 million but Sony says it hadn’t consolidated Sony BMG’s cash. Bertelsmann adds that the value to it was higher than $1.2 billion, after taking into account tax breaks)
Will full ownership by Sony give the record label a new lease on life? According to Music & Copyright research, Sony BMG ranks second in the music industry with a 20.1 percent market share, behind Universal Music’s 28.8 percent. Here’s what some analysts told our correspondents in Tokyo and London: