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Concord for sale, but unlikely to go to Fuller

By | Published on Thursday 6 December 2012

Simon Fuller

Billboard’s sources have confirmed that US independent music firm Concord Music Group is indeed up for sale, following that Sky News report earlier this week that indicated that the Simon Fuller-led consortium bidding for the Parlophone company might also try to buy Concord to provide a US arm of their new label venture.

The Concord Music Group was created by the merger of Concord Records and Fantasy Records in 2004, and is currently owned by Village Roadshow Entertainment. According to Billboard, management at Concord are looking for a new owner because Village Roadshow, despite having just completed a refinancing, doesn’t have access to the funds its music company’s directors want in order to fuel expansion through acquisition.

Other than the Starbucks adventure and McCartney tie-up, Concord is probably best known for the jazz label the wider group grew out of, and many jazz fans were horrified at the news that the company might end up in the hands of Fuller, best known for creating ‘American Idol’ and managing the Spice Girls.

However, Billboard reckons that a sale to a Fuller-led consortium is unlikely, because the bidding is being overseen by Concord’s existing management team who plan to stay in place after any deal is done, so an alliance with an existing music venture with its own ambitions is not going to be attractive. To that end Concord’s reps are currently in talks with private equity groups.

That said, the logic of combining the EMI European assets on the block as a result of Universal’s takeover of the one-time British major with Concord’s primarily US-based business has not been lost on management at the Concord Music Group, and it’s thought that if they can woo a private equity partner soon enough, they might then try to bid for Parlophone themselves.