Universal Music Group Buys Majority Stake in Mavin Records

February 26, 2024
universal music group Mavin Records

By Adedapo Adesanya

Universal Music Group (UMG) has acquired a majority stake in top Nigerian record label, Mavin Records, founded by artist, producer, music executive and entrepreneur, Mr Michael Collins Ajereh, popularly known as Don Jazzy.

The acquisition comes four months after a potential sale of the label founded in 2012 was first reported.

The top label, which houses music stars like Rema, Johnny Drille, Ayra Starr, Crayon, and LadiPoe, among others, saw bids come from the Universal Music Group, HYBE as well as from music asset investors in the financial sector.

UMG is buying into the record following sales made by Kupanda Holdings, a joint venture between pan-Africa investment company Kupanda Capital and TPG Growth, which invested millions of Dollars in the label in 2019.

TPG has fully exited the business while Kupanda Capital will a remain minority investor and strategic adviser.

According to UMG, Mavin will “maintain autonomy” over its strategy and future talent development while the founder and CEO, Don Jazzy and COO, Mr Tega Oghenejobo, will continue to lead the company.

The deal remains subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close by the end of the third quarter (Q3) of 2024.

Through this deal, Mavin’s operations in Nigeria will be amplified through UMG’s global network of labels and business by the investment.

Currently distributed internationally [ex-Africa] through Virgin Music Group with Rema, UMG noted that Mavin and its roster are already “well integrated” into UMG’s network, with multiple signings across US labels, including Republic partnering for Ayra Starr, and Interscope for Lifesize Teddy.

UMG also said on Monday that the partnership will accelerate Mavin’s strategic advancement and create more opportunities to break more talent globally, expand the reach of its existing roster and continue building its business into “a super-serving, pan-African entertainment company”.

This mission, according to UMG, is anchored in two initiatives — Mavin’s Artist Academy, which trains new talent in music and performance skills and builds connections within the roaster, and their executive leadership program, which seeks to develop the next generation of music industry talent in Africa.

Speaking on the deal, Mr Ajereh aka Don Jazzy said, “ I’m proud of the artists, careers and brand we’ve built that have made Mavin the force it is today. In this historic partnership with UMG, we will continue that mission in Africa and across the globe.”

Mr Oghenejobo added that, “With our proven history of collaborations within the UMG family, we have a strong belief that they are the ideal partner for the next phase of our growth, given the diversity and potential of our business.

“UMG is home to some of the world’s foremost music entrepreneurs and artists, making them a perfect match for our aspirations. By collaborating with UMG, we are dedicated to cultivating a vibrant creative environment that propels African music to new heights on the global stage.”

Adding his input, Sir Lucian Grainge, Chairman & CEO of Universal Music Group, said, “Our criteria for identifying partners is straightforward: great artists, great entrepreneurs, great people. With Don Jazzy, Tega, the Mavin Global team and their artist roster, we’ve found ideal partners with whom to grow together.

“Mavin’s brilliant artists have been catalysts in the transformation of Afrobeats into a global phenomenon and we’re thrilled to welcome them into the Universal Music Group family.”

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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