Russian-born billionaire Len Blavatnik's Access Industries has won its auction bid to acquire both the music recording and publishing divisions of the Warner Music Group for $3.3 billion. Warner Music, which has a wide-ranging catalog of major artists including Led Zeppelin, Green Day, R.E.M. and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, will become an autonomous unit of Access.
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Blavatnik, a longtime associate of Warner Music Chairman and CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr., is expected to keep Warner Music's management in place and spearhead an effort to combine the company with EMI. If Blavatnik is successful in a Warner-EMI merger, he will gain control of a vast catalog including the music of the Beatles, Pink Floyd and Radiohead, and drive down overall costs for the company.