Universal Grows Its Swag Trade

Universal Music Group has paid an undisclosed sum for the merchandising company that looks after acts including Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bryan Adams, Def Leppard, Rage Against The Machine and Lostprophets.

The purchase of Atmosphere Apparel, the U.K.-based music merchandising company founded and owned by Mark Stredwick, comes shortly after a shakeup at Bravado, which Universal acquired as part of Sanctuary Music Group.

A boardroom shuffle in early May saw chief exec Barry Drinkwater, who co-founded the company with his brother Keith more than 25 years ago, replaced by Tom Bennett, who stepped up from being the chief exec for North America.

Stredwick says the Universal deal enables Atmosphere to maintain its reputation as a truly artist-friendly merchandise company, while benefiting from the "global expertise of UMG’s distribution network."

About a dozen staff, one-fifth of the company’s U.K. workforce, followed Drinkwater out the door at Bravado as Universal switched to handling retail distribution through its own depot at Milton Keynes. Universal’s global distribution reaches 77 countries.