WMG, Sinatra family in tune for venture

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NEW YORK -- Warner Music Group and the family of Frank Sinatra have established Frank Sinatra Enterprises, a joint venture that will manage and market the late performer's likeness and most of his music, film and stage works.

Representatives from the Sinatra family and WMG will jointly manage FSE, with day-to-day operations being handled by executives from WMG's Rhino Entertainment unit, which previously struck a similar deal for the Grateful Dead's business.

The Sinatra deal is in line with WMG's continued transformation from a traditional music company to one that manages many facets of an artist's brand and career.

WMG and the family have worked together for years, as Reprise Records, which Sinatra founded, has been part of the firm. But the new deal allows the sides to jointly manage a broader business in a comprehensive manner.

WMG is contributing Reprise to the joint venture, whose financial details weren't disclosed. The Sinatra family, represented by Nancy, Tina and Frank Jr., brings in their share in other Sinatra music catalogs, including their part in an EMI Group catalog as well as film, TV and other works.

The sides said that the worldwide partnership will handle content, licensing and rights management as well as work to preserve "the legendary entertainer's inspirational personality and prodigious body of work."

Rhino management is understood to be taking meetings to develop new business opportunities. Observers mentioned Sinatra-themed bars, casinos and clothing lines as possibilities.

Said WMG chairman and CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr., "Frank Sinatra created one of the most enduring and influential bodies of work the world has ever experienced."

Tina Sinatra and Bronfman will be among FSE's board members.
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