Warner Music Group eyes IPO - Rolling Stone
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Warner Music Wants to Go Public — Again

Major label files an IPO to become a public company for first time since 2011

LizzoWarner Music's Pre-Grammys Party, Arrivals, Hollywood Athletic Club, Los Angeles, USA - 23 Jan 2020

After spending the past eight years as a private company, Warner Music Group, whose roster includes superstars like Lizzo, filed for an IPO.

Christopher Polk/Variety/Shutterstock

After spending the past eight years as a private company, Warner Music Group is looking to come back on the public market, the major label announced on Thursday, filing an Initial Public Offering request through the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The announcement comes just after a record first quarter for WMG in which the label pulled in $1.25 billion in revenue and netted $122 million in income, a nearly 42% income increase from the same quarter a year ago. It was the highest quarterly revenue Warner had in 16 years since splitting from Time Warner in 2004, WMG CEO Stephen Cooper said in a statement amid the earnings announcement.

Warner Music has been a private company since industrial group Access Industries, led by chairman Len Blavatnik, purchased the label in 2011 for $3.3 billion. Warner’s new public offering comes just a little more than a month after a similar move from Universal Music Group last December. The biggest of the three record companies and home to artists including Taylor Swift, Kanye West, and the Beatles announced a 10% sale to a consortium led by Chinese tech giant Tencent. Universal’s parent company Vivendi said at the time that it is “very happy” with its ambitions to expand further in the global market, and Universal head honcho Lucian Grainge told employees that “with the exception of additional resources to further advance our strategy, everything else will remain the same” within the company.

A rep for WMG did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

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