Access Industries Takes Warner Music Private

Access Industries Inc. has completed its acquisition of Warner Music Group Corp., taking control of the world’s third-largest recording company as the music industry strains under falling sales and technological reinvention.

Access, a private, multi-industry conglomerate based in New York, is paying $8.25 per share of Warner, or about $1.3 billion. It will assume about $2 billion in Warner debt and $320 million in cash from the company.

The companies announced the deal in May. Warner shareholders voted to approve it earlier this month.

Sales of recorded music in the U.S. have declined by one-half in the past decade. Digital sales are rising more slowly, while sales of compact disks continue to fall.

Warner Music Group owns well-known record labels such as Asylum, Atlantic, Elektra, Nonesuch and Rhino. Access also is buying Warner’s catalog of copyrights to more than one million songs.

Access, controlled by billionaire Len Blavatnik, owns companies in three main industries: natural resources and chemicals, telecommunications and media and real estate. Blavatnik was part of a group that bought Warner Music from Time Warner Inc. in 2004.

Warner was acquired by two holding companies controlled by Access: Airplanes Music LLC and Airplanes Merger Sub Inc.

With the closing of the deal, Warner Music shares stopped trading on the New York Stock Exchange.