Warner files for IPO

Warner Music Group, bought by Thomas H. Lee Partners, Bain Capital and Providence Equity Partners for $2.6 billion last March, has planned a $750 million IPO.

Private equity-owned Warner Music Group is planning a $750 million (€557 million) initial public offering, according to Thursday filings with the US Securities and Exchange Committee.

One of the world’s largest record companies, it was bought from Time Warner for $2.6 billion a year ago by a consortium of investors led by Edgar Bronfman and including Boston-based private equity firms Thomas H. Lee Partners, Bain Capital and Providence Equity Partners.

The filings said shares would be sold by the company and existing shareholders. 

Warner Music is a substantial player in the music industry and home to stalwarts Madonna, Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, Simple Plan and Jet, as well as an extensive – and lucrative – publishing library that includes one million copyrights. Warner’s recorded music business accounts for 83 percent of the company’s revenues.

In the last quarter of 2004, the company showed a $36 million profit and $1.09 billion in revenues, according to the filing.

Industry tracker SoundScan reported in January that US albums sales were up in 2004 for the first time in four years. They clocked in at 667 million units, an increase of 1.6 percent. Total sales were up almost 20 percent, a figure buoyed by the increase in legal digital downloads.