Bertelsmann said to pay €800 million for KKR's stake in BMG

Bertelsmann SE, Europe's largest media company, today said that it will take full control of music rights joint venture BMG by acquiring the stake from partner Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co (KKR).

Privately-held Bertelsmann, which also owns book publisher Random House, said the purchase valued BMG at €1.1 billion ($1.4 billion), including debt.

Bertelsmann, based in North Rhine-Westphalia, did not reveal how much it is paying for New York-based private equity firm KKR's 51-per cent stake in BMG, but Reuters, citing a person familiar with the matter said that the purchase price was between €700 and €800 million including debt.

Thy deal will give Bertelsmann full control of BMG, the world's fourth-largest music publisher, with a catalogue of more than one million songs by artists including Bruno Mars, Duran Duran, Frank Ocean, Gossip, and Johnny Cash.

Based in Berlin and with a presence in eight core countries, BMG has established a presence in eight core music markets and represents the rights of more than a million songs and recordings including Crosstown, Cherry Lane, Stage Three, Evergreen, Chrysalis and Bug in addition to a number of signed prominent artists and songwriters.

Since its founding in 2008, BMG has been a profitable music publisher and in recent years has acquired several rights catalogs and labels from the US, the UK, Germany and France.