Primary Wave Music Nabs $125 Million Financial Partnership

6:00 AM PST 05/10/2013 by Glenn Peoples, Billboard

One of the largest independent music publishing, marketing and management companies in the U.S., it controls the copyrights to more than 15,000 songs. Management clients include Cee Lo Green and Busta Rhymes.

Primary Wave Music has announced a new financial partnership with Credit Suisse and SunTrust Bank that's valued at $125 million and expands the music company's seven-year relationship with the two banks. Primary Wave's current management team will retain ownership of the largest share of interest in the overall company. In addition, the music publishing division and Primary Violator management company (co-founded by the late Chris Lighty) are now operating as one unit under the Primary Wave umbrella.

“With this additional backing, Primary Wave will aggressively seek new acquisitions and expand its current roster of talented artists under both management as well as publishing,” states Lawrence Mestel, founder & CEO of Primary Wave Music.

The partnership also will allow Primary Wave to grow out other parts of its business, such as its Brand Syngery Group, BrightShop digital marketing division and Primary Wave Television development and production business.

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Primary Wave had made many recent moves to expand its business. In March, longtime employee Justin Shukat, chief operating officer of Primary Wave Music, was named president of Primary Wave Music Publishing. Since last fall, the company has hired manager Chris Maltese to build out its rock division and Stephen Hutton, founder of Uppercut Management, to bolster its rock and pop rosters. Last year, a London office added to its presence in New York and Los Angeles. Although Primary Wave bid for EMI Publishing's assets last year, it was eliminated from contention after the second round.

Founded in 2006, Primary Wave has grown into one of the largest independent music publishing, marketing and management companies in the U.S. It controls the copyright to more than 15,000 songs from the catalogs of Kurt Cobain, John Lennon, the Beach Boys, Steven Tyler, Hall & Oates, Maurice White and others. Its management company represents Cee Lo Green, Busta Rhymes, Eric Benet and writer-producer Roccstar, among others.

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The deal with Credit Suisse and SunTrust Bank reiterates the viability of the music publishing business. Although publishing assets aren't as pricey as they were a few years ago, banks and investors are showing great interest. The deal also underscores the need for today's publishing companies to incorporate other services.

Primary Wave's competitors are following a similar formula. Nettwerk Music Group, for example, recently raised $10.25 million to acquire additional publishing assets, sign new artists and further develop existing artists. Kobalt, another independent publisher, recently launched a label service division and has already put out an album by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds and gospel artist Larry Callahan & Selected of God.

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