BMG to Acquire Sanctuary Label From Universal Music

Megadeath Live Gibson - H 2011
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Megadeath Live Gibson - H 2011

The deal for the home of Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and Status Quo recordings, among others, is believed to be worth $62.5 million.

Music rights management company BMG Rights said Friday that it has signed an agreement to acquire U.K.-based rock and heavy metal label Sanctuary Records from Vivendi's Universal Music Group.

Financial terms of the transaction, which is part of the divestments mandated by the European Commission in its approval of UMG’s acquisition of EMI's recorded music unit, weren't disclosed.

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The proposed deal, which covers the label's roughly 170,000 recordings, is subject to regulatory approval by the EC.

Sanctuary has music -- in varying territories -- from the likes of Black Sabbath, Motorhead, Iron Maiden, The Kinks, Megadeth, The Sex Pistols (the Spunk bootleg album), Status Quo, folk acts such as Donovan and The Dubliners, as well as Grandmaster Flash.

Sources said BMG agreed to pay nearly $62.5 million (£40 million) for Sanctuary. They said the label recorded earnings before interest taxes depreciation and amortization of about $7 million on revenue of $12.7 million in 2012.

BMG, a joint venture of German media giant Bertelsmann and private-equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, late last year also agreed to buy the Mute Records business that UMG had to sell. Mute's artists include Depeche Mode, Erasure, Moby and Nick Cave.

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"We are delighted to have won the opportunity to work with the exceptional lineup of artists in the Sanctuary catalog," said BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch. "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."

Overall, UMG has now raised almost $830 million from its divestitures related to the EMI deal.

Last week, Warner Music Group announced a $765 million agreement to acquire Parlophone, home of Coldplay and Kylie Minogue.

Twitter: @georgszalai

Billboard's Ed Christman contributed to this report.