UMG adding V2 to roster


NEW YORK -- Universal Music Group has reached an agreement to acquire the V2 Music Group from Morgan Stanley. Terms of the deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, have not been disclosed.

"V2 is recognized as a pioneer in independent music with a diverse artist roster that spans many musical genres," Universal Music International chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge said. "By applying our expertise in artist development and in the digital space, we'll be able to maximize and enhance the opportunities for its artists even further."

V2's roster includes Stereophonics, Paul Weller, Anais, Isabelle Boulay and Henri Salvador. In addition, V2 owns and operates Co-Operative Music, its in-house licensing organization that includes such independent labels as Bella Union, City Slang and Wichita Recordings, and such artists as Bloc Party, Peter Bjorn and John, and the Go Team!

V2 was founded by Richard Branson in 1996, but Morgan Stanley, which provided financing for the company, ultimately wound up owning a 95% stake in the label.

Along the way, V2 sold off its V2 North American operation to Sheridan Square. Universal has been distributing the label in Ireland and the U.K. since July 2006.

Ed Christman is a senior correspondent for Billboard.