Sony Buys BMG

Bertelsmann AG said Thursday that it had completed the sale to Sony Corp. of its 50 percent stake in music venture Sony BMG in a US$900 million deal.

The transaction gives Sony Corp. full ownership of a roster of artists including Alicia Keys and an enhanced ability to sell music on an array of electronic devices.

Bertelsmann said in a statement that the deal cleared regulatory hurdles and was completed Wednesday.

“The purchase price for the holding has changed hands, and the music company, to be called Sony Music Entertainment Inc., is now a wholly owned subsidiary of the Sony Corporation of America,” privately held Bertelsmann said.

Sony Music Entertainment will comprise music labels including Arista Records, Columbia Records, Epic Records, J Records, Jive Records, RCA Records and Zomba.

Its artists will include Celine Dion, Bruce Springsteen, Justin Timberlake and Usher, among others.

Part of the deal, announced Aug. 5, called for Bertelsmann to take over a few selected European music catalog assets from Sony BMG – representing about US$20 million or less than 1 percent of Sony BMG’s revenue last year.

Bertelsmann’s interests range from publisher Random House to radio and television, including broadcaster RTL, magazines and media services.

Bertelsmann is headquartered in Guetersloh, Germany, but most of its 97,000 employees are scattered across its divisions