Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Warner To Acquire Death Row Records?

Warner Music Group, has made a $25 million bid for ownership of Death Row Records' music related assets, including the rights to music recordings, videos, master copies of recordings, merchandising rights and inventory.
Death Row Records, founded by Dr. Dre and Marion "Suge" Knight in 1991, once home to Tupac and Snoop Dogg, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April of 2006, listing debts of as much as $137.4 million and $4.4 million in assets.

Warner Music Group is the highest bidder in the Death Row Records bankruptcy proceedings, an extensive music catalog. Out of a group of 18 other interested parties including Evergreen Copyrights which owns the writer's portion of Tupac's catalog and Koch Records, formerly the Death Row Records distributing label, the competing bidders must exceed Warner's offer by at least $1 million, and increase in increments of $100,000 after that.

If no bidders top Warner's offer of $25 million, then the assets will be sold through a court run auction. R. Todd Neilson, the Chapter 11 trustee of the Death Row Records estate, proposed that bidders must submit their offers by April 11, in preparation for the auction to take place April 24, giving final approval to the sale on May 12.

The sale has been delayed since the Chapter 11 bankruptcy because of outstanding claims by both Dr. Dre, who is still in the process of collecting royalties from his 1992 The Chronic album, and Afeni Shakur, mother of Tupac Shakur, who wants to determine who owns the rights to Tupac's unreleased material. Warner Music Group will only follow through with the purchase if those assets are included in the catalog.

Subject to court approval, a $500,000 non-bidding agreement, plus reimbursement of up to $250,000 in expenses, has been decided upon if the deal falls through with Death Row Records and Warner Music Group.
Warner Music Group is the third largest record label in the world, and has a large number of labels and divisions, including Warner Chappell, a publishing company which already manages some of Death Row's songs, Atlantic Records, Bad Boy Records and Elektra Records. Death Row has sold nearly 50 million units worldwide, and generated close to $750 million in revenue.