Warner Music Group filed with the SEC Tuesday to launch an initial public offering of 70 million shares priced from $23-$26 dollars — raising up to $1.82 billion at the upper end of the range. Billionaire investor and Warner Music owner Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries and other stockholders are the ones selling the shares — called secondary shares — meaning the proceeds won’t go to the company.
The home of Asylum, Atlantic Records, Parlophone, Elektra Warner Records and Warner Classics, among others, and artists including Cardi B, Ed Sheeran and Bruno Mars, Warner Music had previously filed to list on the Nasdaq market under the ticker symbol WMG. Warner. It revealed the financial terms of the IPO today and said in its filing that the IPO wiill take place “as soon as practicable” after the registration statement becomes effective.
WMG has been eyeing an IPO for months but held off as the coronavirus pandemic roiled stock markets. Growth in streaming servies has boosted the value of music companies in recent years. French conglom Vivendi lasts year sold a minority stake in Universal Music Group to a group led by China’s Tencent Holdings in a deal that valued the business at 30 billion euros ($32.9 billion).
WarnerMusic’s earned $258 million in fiscal 2019 on revenue of $4.48 billion. Recorded music generated $3.84 billion, or 86% of total revenues. Global music publishing under Warner Chappell Music, which includes Twenty One Pilots, Lizzo and Katy Perry, generated $643 million of revenue.
Blavatnik bought WarnerMusic in 2011 for $1.3 bilion. Before that it was a publicly-listed company from 2005. Time Warner sold Warner Music in 2003 for about $2.6 billion to an investor group led by the Seagram heir Edgar Bronfman, Jr. and private equity firm Thomas H. Lee.
Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs are lead underwriters with BofA Securities, Citgroup and JP Morgan acting as joint bookrunners. Another 23 banks are acting as co-managers.