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Friday, Jun 9, 2023

Van Nuys Firm To Be A Leader in Music Publishing With Deal

Van Nuys-based Alfred Publishing is expected to be a major force in the music publishing industry after its purchase of Warner Bros. Publications, one of the world’s largest publishers of printed music, from Warner Music Group. The deal gives Alfred the rights to publish and distribute Warner’s broad stable of artists including Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, George and Ira Gershwin, Radiohead, Elton John, Green Day, Van Morrison, the Eagles and Michael Jackson. Under the agreement, Alfred will acquire the entire Warner Bros. Publications business which is based in Miami and has offices in the United Kingdom. Alfred will also enter into a long-term exclusive license agreement with Warner Music Group’s Warner/Chappell music publishing division, under which Alfred will have the right to continue to print and distribute editions of musical compositions administered by Warner/Chappell. Warner/Chappell, one of the world’s leading music publishers, remains a division of Warner Music Group as will Word Music, the print music business of WMG’s Word Entertainment. Terms of the sale to Alfred were not officially disclosed, however, sources said that the sale price was between $60 and $70 million. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for Alfred and we are thrilled to be working with the staff at Warner Bros. This instantly makes us a major player in the pop market. We are very excited about the synergy of our two companies’ strengths. We believe that combining our strengths will make us much stronger than simply combining our parts,” Steve Manus, Alfred’s chief operating officer, said. The two companies have very little overlap of product, which likely will allow Alfred to increase its market share. Prior to the purchase, Alfred had been the third largest music publisher in the country, behind Warner and frontrunner, Hal Leonard Publishing Corp., a company headquartered in Milwaukee. “The sale of Warner Bros. publications enables Warner Music Group to focus its resources on its core mission of signing and developing the world’s best recording artists and songwriters. In Alfred, we’ve found an ideal home for Warner Bros. Publications and its employees and we look forward to a long and productive relationship as it provides Warner Music Group and Warner/Chappell with the highest quality print music services in the industry,” Edgar Bronfman, Jr., chairman and CEO of Warner Music Group, said in a prepared statement. Warner Bros. officials declined to speak further than their press release. According to Ed Walker, the owner of Baxter Northup Music Co., a music retailer located in Sherman Oaks, Alfred’s purchase will make them an huge force in the music publishing industry. More artists “The purchase will make them the other big player in popular print music. Hal Leonard and Warner had been the two big publishers but now that Alfred owns Warner Bros, it certainly will make the dealers do a lot more dealing with them, pop music is something they need all the time,” Walker said. “Alfred’s currently selling pretty well. They already had a good catalogue of music but Warner also has a large catalogue of classical and popular modern music. Alfred will now have a lot more artists and breadth.” According to Walker, the majority of Alfred’s sales had come from educational music and music literature, particularly popular courses on how to play the piano and other various instruments. Keith Mardak, chairman and CEO of Hal Leonard, spoke graciously of his competitor. Hal Leonard had also been involved in the bidding process to acquire Warner. “Two and three don’t equal one. It was a consolidation and now there’s one less player in the game. Alfred is a well-run company. They should do well with the acquisition,” Mardak said. “It’s a big acquisition with lots of complexities to it. Now Alfred will have three locations. The company is run by very smart and intelligent people.” More Valley jobs Alfred’s purchase will likely bring more jobs to the Valley. The company currently employs almost 100 people in Van Nuys, as well as 50 more in their 100,000 square foot warehouse in Oriskany, New York. Additionally, Alfred employs several more in their offices around the world. “This certainly means we are going to be hiring in the Van Nuys area. Right now, we are assessing our needs for the next few months,” Manus said. The decision to purchase Warner signals an increasingly aggressive strategy being pursued by the Manus.’ The 83 year-old firm, has conducted a series of partnerships and acquisitions over the last several years. Last July, Alfred acquired Myklas Music Press, a music publishing company known for its supplementary piano solos and collections at elementary and immediate levels. In 2003, Alfred formed a joint venture partnership with Daisy Rock Guitars, a manufacturer of guitars for women. In the agreement, Alfred purchased half of the company and shares its control. Daisy Rock was recently named one of the “Fastest Growing Companies,” by the Los Angeles Business Journal. These moves have yielded massive spikes in revenue, as Alfred has gone from $10 million in 1992, to $31 million in 2003. In 2005, Manus predicts that the revenues for the combined Alfred/Warner company will be in excess of $80 million.

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