Warner Music buys stake in Saudi billionaire’s record label


Warner Music Group Corp has acquired a stake in Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal’s Rotana Music, giving it rights to distribute releases by some of the Arab world’s biggest artists outside the Middle East.

The New York City-based entertainment publishing company, which owns hip-hop music labels Atlantic Records and Asylum Records, didn’t disclose details of the investment.

The deal involved Warner acquiring a significant minority stake in Rotana Music that valued the Middle East record label at about $200 million, according to a person familiar with the transaction.

Cementing the deal gives Alwaleed’s Rotana an infusion of cash and international distribution network for its stars, while Warner Music gets access to a young, tech-savvy region.

Alwaleed invested about $270 million into Deezer in 2018, a deal that also made available Rotana’s audio and video content for the music streaming service.

That investment was the first made by the prince after he was detained in 2017 in what the Saudi government described as a crackdown on corruption. He was released a few months later after signing a “confirmed understanding” with Saudi authorities.

Len Blavatnik, vice chairman of Warner Music, is also an investor in Deezer.

The deal would allow Warner to “both expand our profile in the region and to bring these amazing artists to audiences across the globe,” Simon Robson, the company’s president of international recorded music, said in a statement.

Kacy Grine, who’s previously worked with Prince Alwaleed on many of his previous investments, advised Rotana on the deal.