Universal Music Group Takes 70% Interest in the Catalog of Thailand’s RS Music — $46 Million Deal

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Universal Music Group has spent about $46 million on a 70 percent interest in the catalog of Thailand’s RS Music. Photo Credit: RS Group

With Thailand’s music and entertainment spaces continuing to achieve rapid growth, Universal Music Group (UMG) has acquired a 70 percent interest in the catalog of RS Music – a Bangkok-based company that’s involved with a number of prominent regional acts.

RS Group (SET: RS) just recently announced its tie-up with UMG in a formal release as well as a regulatory disclosure. One of the conglomerate’s many divisions – the company likewise owns RS Mall (“a multi-platform shopping destination for holistic health and wellbeing”) and IPO’d a lending and debt-collection business called Chase Asia last year – RS Music has since April been expected to arrive on Thailand’s stock market by 2024.

And according to higher-ups, these plans are still in motion despite Universal Music’s initially mentioned purchase of 70 percent of RS Music’s IP. As described in the highlighted regulatory disclosure, the approximately $46 million (฿1.61 billion) transaction, which is expected to wrap by the third quarter, will see RS transfer seemingly all its music assets to a new company.

This includes the entity’s masters and publishing catalog (extending to some 10,000 tracks, per execs), artist contracts (excluding management deals, however), and more, the filing shows, with UMG poised to take the 70 percent stake in this forthcoming unit. Meanwhile, RS “may receive additional consideration” of close to $5 million (฿173.8 million) from UMG down the line, the document indicates, “with the terms and conditions to be mutually agreed by the parties.”

Addressing the agreement in a statement, RS Group CEO Surachai Chetchotisak emphasized the union’s perceived potential to enhance Thai music’s presence on the world stage.

“We are glad to partner with UMG, as a mean[s] to expand opportunities for Thai music in the international market,” communicated the RS head, whose company’s music unit said in April that it was targeting around $20 million in revenue for 2023. “It will also play a significant role in driving Thai soft power and mark the first stepping stone for future projects and businesses. This joint venture will create opportunities within [the] music industry and strengthen RS Music even further.”

And in a subsequent release, the RS CEO touched upon a desire to spearhead collaborations with international artists – besides reiterating that these and related efforts “will drive our music business under RS Music to enter the Stock Exchange of Thailand in 2024 as expected.”

About one year back, Universal Music inked an expanded partnership deal with Hype Train Group in Thailand – where well-entrenched local players continue to command a substantial domestic presence – and Live Nation scooped up the concerts and entertainment unit of TERO. More recently, Thai rapper and entertainer Khanngoen Nuanual purchased a majority interest in film distributor M Pictures.