Universal Sell Black Sabbath, Megadeth Label To Growing BMG

18 February 2013 | 11:57 am | Scott Fitzsimons

BMG in process of re-building their music assets

United Kingdom heavy metal, hard rock and indie label Sanctuary Records is the latest asset to have been sold by the Universal Music Group in the ongoing divestment process undertaken by the world's biggest major label following its acquisition of EMI.

Home to artists such as Black Sabbath and Megadeth, Sanctuary was one of the labels Universal agreed to sell when they finally captured EMI's recorded music division. Sanctuary has been a dwindling name on the UK scene since its purchase by Universal in 2007, but despite not featuring on the new release sheets the company's back catalogue of 170,000 recordings still makes it a formidable purchase. The label has – at times – been home to artists such as The Kinks, Guns N' Roses, The Cranberries, Pet Shop Boys, Robert Plant, Meat Loaf, Elton John and Journey.

The Guardian reports that the deal is worth over $60 million.

Importantly the purchase is further evidence of German-based rights management company BMG's intentions to re-enter the music industry in a big way. The company was an active bidder in the sales of both Warner and EMI, but were eventually outbid in both occasions. A joint venture between media group Bertelsmann and US private equity fund KKR, it is now believed that BMG's catalogue of recordings is over one million strong.

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BMG's Chief Executive Hartwig Masuch said, “We have made no secret of our ambition to create a new force in the music industry focused on delivering service and revenue to artists. We believe this deal will be good news for those artists, good news for our partners, particularly in the independent sector, and good news for the music industry as a whole.”

Earlier this year BMG had partnered with Sony (their old allies) in an attempt to purchase former EMI label Parlophone, but earlier this month the historic label went to Warner.