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Universal To Purchase Sanctuary Group With $205 Million Bid

LONDON (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Universal Music Group is hoping to take advantage of the booming live music business by purchasing London-based Sanctuary Group for $205 million.

Sanctuary’s board approved the 20 pence-per-share offer from Universal, which would value the company at $87.6 million. Universal would also have to assume Sanctuary’s significant debt, meaning the actual value of the transaction is much higher.

Universal sought out the company for its artist management and live agency businesses, without holding too much concern for its struggling recorded music or publishing divisions. Universal Music is already the biggest player in both of those sectors.

Doug Morris, chairman/CEO of Universal, said in a statement, “The Sanctuary business will be a good strategic fit for us. We have a great opportunity to strengthen and advance Sanctuary's position as a significant player in artist management, agency and merchandising, as consumers' appetite for music grows worldwide. The union with Universal's global strength and leadership will further develop Sanctuary and its talent on the international music stage.”

Sanctuary manages several international acts including James Blunt, The Who, Robert Plant, ZZ Top, Slipknot, Fleetwood Mac, Jane's Addiction, Tommy Lee, Mastodon and Elton John, the latter of whom is signed to Universal for both records and publishing. The company also books tours for more than 200 acts, including Amy Winehouse, Avril Lavigne, Corinne Bailey Rae, Dido, Dixie Chicks, Faithless, Kaiser Chiefs, Kings of Leon and Pet Shop Boys.

Sanctuary chairman Robert Ayling said the deal would “allow the Sanctuary business to benefit from the already well-established relationships between Sanctuary and Universal and from a more supportive capital structure, which is in the future interests of artists and employees.”

The deal is expected to be approved by trade commissioners, and will be completed within two months. –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers