Lagos-Based Mavin Global Sells Majority Stake to UMG, Plans to Elevate ‘African Music to New Heights on the Global Stage’

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Mavin Global founder and CEO Michael Collins Ajereh. Photo Credit: Universal Music Group

Universal Music Group (UMG) has announced the acquisition of a majority interest in Lagos-based Afrobeats label Mavin Global.

UMG today revealed its buyout of Mavin Global, which Michael Collins Ajereh (known professionally as Don Jazzy) founded 12 years ago. Since then, the African label is said to have cemented its status as the “driving force behind many of the continent’s Afrobeats artists.”

Running with that point, Mavin’s roster includes acts such as Cotonou, Benin-born “Rush” singer-songwriter Ayra Starr, rapper Ladipoe, Johnny Drille, 23-year-old Crayon (real name Charles Chibueze Chukwu), Lagos native Magixx, Jason Derulo collaborator Bayanni, “I Don’t Care” creator Boy Spyce, DJ Big N, Lifesize Teddy (who released her debut effort last August), and “Calm Down” artist Rema, the involved entities noted.

While Universal Music opted against disclosing the precise ownership details and financials behind the play, which is expected to wrap in the third quarter, it did specify that the deal has seen TPG “fully” exit its position in Mavin. Kupanda Capital, on the other hand, is remaining aboard as a “minority investor and strategic adviser.”

Moving forward, Mavin is expected to “maintain autonomy over its strategy and future talent development,” the purchasing party signaled, with Ajereh continuing as CEO and Tega Oghenejobo still serving as COO.

Of course, UMG intends to amplify the Mavin catalog’s international reach; Virgin Music Group has for some time handled the Nigerian label’s distribution outside Africa, with existing partnerships in place between Republic and Ayra Starr as well as Interscope and Lifesize Teddy.

Returning to the quick-expanding music market of Nigeria, population 219 million, Mavin also operates a namesake artist academy (“which trains new talent in music and performance skills”) and an executive leadership program (“which seeks to develop the next generation of music industry talent in Africa”), the businesses highlighted.

Addressing the agreement, Mavin COO Tega Oghenejobo touched upon the UMG investment’s perceived potential to enhance commercial results for African music in nations around the world.

“UMG is home to some of the world’s foremost music entrepreneurs and artists, making them a perfect match for our aspirations,” Oghenejobo said in part. “By collaborating with UMG, we are dedicated to cultivating a vibrant creative environment that propels African music to new heights on the global stage.”

And in remarks of his own, UMG head Lucian Grainge acknowledged the growing prevalence of Afrobeats.

“With Don Jazzy, Tega, the Mavin Global team and their artist roster,” Grainge communicated in part, “we’ve found ideal partners with whom to grow together. Mavin’s brilliant artists have been catalysts in the transformation of Afrobeats into a global phenomenon and we’re thrilled to welcome them into the Universal Music Group family.”

Earlier this month, African streaming service Mdundo indicated that it had topped 30 million monthly active users – with plans to elevate the figure to 50 million by 2025. Before that, the Africori owner Warner Music this past summer rolled out an Afrobeats JV label called Protect the Culture.