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Universal Music buys stake in Chord for $240M

Feb 21, 2024
Illustration of a pencil writing sheet music with dollar and cents symbols

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Universal Music Group is buying a minority stake in Chord Music Partners, owner of about 60,000 songs including the catalogs of The Weeknd and John Legend, in a deal valuing the music rights holder at $1.85 billion.

Why it matters: The music rights market is booming. This deal grants a major record label a stake in some big music catalogs and an opportunity to acquire more.

Catch up quick: KKR and Dundee Partners formed Chord in 2021.

Details: KKR has agreed to sell its majority stake. UMG will acquire a 25.8% stake in Chord for $240 million, the company announced Tuesday. The Dundee consortium will hold the remaining 74.2% stake.

  • UMG executive Boyd Muir said in a statement that the deal offers the company an "efficient vehicle" for future catalog acquisitions "without significant capital allocation."

Of note: Goldman Sachs, Kirkland & Ellis and Freshfields advised UMG. DLA Piper and Axinn, Veltrop & Harkrider LLP served as legal advisers to Dundee.

  • Fifth Third Bank and National Association served as financial advisers and provided committed financing to Dundee and UMG.
  • The Raine Group served as financial adviser and Manatt, Phelps and Phillips, LLP served as legal adviser to Chord. Latham & Watkins LLP served as legal counsel to KKR.
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