Warner Music Group continues to sing a sad tune when it comes to its financial performance. It reported today that it had a net loss of $103M in the quarter that ended in September, 124% bigger than its loss in the same period last year, on revenues of $707M, down 6%. The financial report is mostly for bondholders; Russian-born billionaire Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries bought the company in July for $3.3B. Still, it’s a dreary filing for the company, whose roster of hitmakers includes Bruno Mars, Cee Lo Green, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Jill Scott. Warner says that its recorded music revenues fell 8% to $571M. Although sales from digital distribution were up 6% to $194M, that was “more than offset by contracting demand” for CDs. Meanwhile, revenues at the music publishing operation fell 1% to $141M. Warner says that the quarter’s disappointing results were due to “a light release schedule”; weak sales in the U.S., Japan, and most of Europe; and rising interest payments on the debt Access took on to buy the music company.
Warner was the odd company out last month when Citigroup announced that it agreed to sell EMI’s recorded music operation to Vivendi’s Universal Music and the music publishing unit to a consortium led by Sony. Warner CEO Stephen Cooper says that “it’s difficult to predict how that acquisition is going to work its way throught the scrutiny of the regulatory process.” Former Seagram and Vivendi Universal chief Edgar Bronfman Jr said this week that he’ll leave his job as chairman of Warner Music in January, but will remain on its board.
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