Warner Music Group (WMG) has announced that it will begin paying a $61.7 million quarterly dividend.
The Big Three record label unveiled its multimillion-dollar quarterly dividend, consisting of a $0.12 payment on each Class A and Class B share, in a general release. Those who hold Warner Music Group stock (traded as WMG on NASDAQ) as of Monday, February 22nd, will receive their first dividend payment one week thereafter, on Monday, March 1st, according to the New York City-headquartered company.
The dividend announcement arrives 10 days after Warner Music revealed that it’d generated all-time-high earnings (as a standalone company) during the final three months of 2020, with total revenue of $1.335 billion across the quarter. Despite suffering earnings declines in the physical and performance categories, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, WMG experienced double-digit digital growth – including a 17.5 percent boost to streaming earnings.
Warner Music, which returned to the public market last year after nearly a decade of entirely private ownership, saw its per-share stock price jump from $35.50 on February 1st (when the earnings report was released) to $39.00 yesterday. The latter represents a major increase from the company’s $25 IPO price and is just 61 cents away from the stock’s record high.
That said, WMG shares parted with 4.13 percent of their value during today’s trading hours (possibly because of the dividend announcement), resting at $37.39 each when the market closed.
Building upon its IPO success and still-growing quarterly earnings, Warner Music has also made several growth-focused plays during the last couple months. In early January, for instance, the company participated in the $520 million Series H funding round of Roblox, which has quietly emerged as a popular (virtual) destination for concerts and music events. And December saw the label expand its partnership with Africori, sub-Saharan Africa’s largest digital music platform, by finalizing a Warner/Chappell sub-publishing deal.
Most notably, in terms of WMG developments to this point in 2021, is the company’s reportedly negotiating to acquire a minority stake in Rotana Music, a record label owned by billionaire Saudi businessman Al-Waleed bin Talal. Sources with knowledge of the talks indicated in late January that the $200 million investment was nearly finalized, but to date, neither Rotana nor WMG has provided a public update on the discussion’s progress.
Separately, country music star Dwight Yoakam is suing Warner Music for allegedly failing to turn over his master recordings – despite receiving a notice of termination some time ago, according to the firmly worded lawsuit.