Sony BMG Reverts to Sony Corp., $900 Million Repurchase

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Sony BMG is now wholly owned by Sony Corporation, according to announcements issued Tuesday morning.

Sony paid Bertelsmann $900 million for the other half of the joint venture, according to SEC filings.  That includes a $600 million cost for the actual company, and $600 million for shared assets – of which Bertelsmann already controlled $300 million.  “Sony is one of the most trusted brands in the world,” company chairman Howard Stringer told employees in an internal email.  “This acquisition will enable us to provide a deeper integration between the music company and Sony’s products, operating companies and affiliates, and offer a total entertainment experience to consumers.”

In total, the deal values the joint venture at about $1.2 billion.  After formal completion of the deal, expected in the fall, the label will change its name to Sony Music Entertainment Inc., according to Stringer.  The reverted major covers a range of celebrated sub-labels, including Arista Records, Columbia Records, Epic Records, J Records, Jive Records, RCA Records, and Zomba.

On the manufacturing and distribution side, Sony and Bertelsmann will remain partners.  The responsibilities will be shared by Sony DADC and Bertelsmann’s Arvato Digital Services GmbH within a six-year arrangement.  Additionally, Bertelsmann will retain ownership over certain portions of the European catalog.