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Russian tycoon buys Warner Music

Len Blavatnik shells out $3.3bn for the music group

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Warner Music has been sold to US businessman Len Blavatnik, according to credible reports, in a $3.3bn deal. The company's $1.9bn debt is also transferred to its new owner, valuing Warner at $1.3bn.

Blavatnik's Access Industries paid 34 per cent over the market price for the music group. The Russian-born tycoon, who also owns Top Up TV, is said to be looking to acquire EMI – which would give him the third and fourth largest major labels.

It's a minor surprise, given that rivals Universal and Sony were thought to have a head start in the auction for Warner. EMI had a short and unhappy period in the hands of an equity investor for years. Warner had tried hard to buy EMI before Terra Firma acquired it in 2007.

Having made his fortune in property and the former Russian nationalised industries, Blavatnik has faith that content companies are where future growth will be; he tried to buy MGM Studios last year. This is not a fashionable view. But smaller operators, without the bureaucracy and overheads of large companies, have prospered.

Blavatnik's family emigrated to the US in 1978, and he now lives in London and New York. ®

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