Universal Music Sells 'Now' Compilation Rights in Europe to Sony

Now That's What I Call Music 83 - P 2013

Now That's What I Call Music 83 - P 2013

The deal, estimated to be worth $60 million, is the last divestiture required under the regulatory terms of the company's EMI acquisition.

LONDON - Vivendi-owned Universal Music Group said late Wednesday that it has reached a definitive agreement to sell European rights to the "Now That's What I Call Music!" compilation series to Sony Music Entertainment.

Financial details weren't disclosed, but the deal is believed to be worth around $60 million.

"Now" is the last asset that the company promised to divest in an agreement with European regulators when they approved its purchase of EMI's recorded music business late last year.

PHOTOS: BRIT Awards 2013: Highlights From London's Big Night of Music

The deal is subject to regulatory approval.

The announcement was made by Max Hole, chairman & CEO of Universal Music Group International, and Edgar Berger, president & CEO, international, Sony Music.

"This sale, along with our previous transactions, not only satisfies our agreement with the European Commission, but further demonstrates the value we have been able to unlock through the targeted divestment of quality assets,” said Hole. “Moreover, we are pleased to partner with Sony, a company that recognizes the cultural importance of this long-standing British institution.”

STORY: Vivendi Stock Drops Amid Lack of Asset Sales News

Said Berger: "NOW is one of the most famous and successful brands in music. We are delighted to have acquired EMI’s interests in the NOW brand in Europe and will work with Universal Music and our other partners across the industry to build the next chapter in NOW's history."

The NOW series debuted in Europe in 1983. It has generated sales exceeding 200 million albums worldwide, including more than 84 million copies in the U.K. It is the longest-running branded compilation series in the U.K., according to the companies.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai