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Billionaire buys Warner Music for $3.3 billion

written by: on May 6, 2011

Industrialist Len Blavatnik bought Warner Music Group, who represents artists like Neil Young and Lupe Fiasco, today for $3.3 billion.

With cash.

Blavatnik, Warner Music Group’s former director and current owner of Access Industries, an investment firm, edged out about 12 other competitors in a bid for the music-industry giant, according to the LA Times. Other bidders included LiveNation and Sony.

Amid slumping CD sales, a rise in online music piracy and a swath of free-but-legal downloading, the traditional music industry, dominated by a handful of companies, is struggling to make money.

“The music industry is at an inflection point where digital adoption is rapidly gaining momentum,” said Jorg Mohaupt, a spokesman for Access Industries, in statement released today. “Warner Music, as one of the most progressive forces in the music business, is well positioned to capture this opportunity for music creation and distribution.”

Some industry analysts are saying Blavatnik will be in a good position to buy EMI Music, whose artists include The Beatles and Lilly Allen, further consolidating the music industry, according to Businessweek. But those actions could face anti-trust regulations.

EMI Music was bought by Citigroup earlier this year, but may be up for sale again before the end of 2011.

Warner Music Group will no longer be a publicly traded company, but a privately owned corporation.