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Universal Buys 49 Percent Stake In Independent Music Company [PIAS]
Christian Eede , December 5th, 2022 16:28

The Belgian company will still be controlled by its founders Kenny Gates and Michel Lambot, however

Universal Music Group (UMG) has bought a 49 percent stake in independent music company [PIAS] Group.

The minority stake will see [PIAS] remain independent and in the control of its Belgian founders Kenny Gates and Michel Lambot. A press release also said that "UMG will have no seats on the company's board."

The sale of the stake follows the founding of a partnership in June 2021 between UMG – which is the world's largest music rights company – and [PIAS] – which runs its own label and distributes the releases of labels like Warp Records, Mute, Domino and Ninja Tune.

Announcing the sale of the stake to UMG, [PIAS]'s Kenny Gates said: "These days we're competing with finance and tech giants and a partner like Universal Music Group provides the additional support for us to compete and grow. Universal made it clear that they like us, they trust us and they need us, because they can't do what we do and they value it highly.

"For Michel and I this is our life's work and an ongoing journey and I am excited about the prospect of this new chapter in the life of [PIAS]. This move makes us stronger and secures the future of our brand, our staff and our partners while maintaining control of our destiny."

Sir Lucian Grainge, Chairman & CEO of Universal Music Group, added: "The boldly independent and music-centric culture that Kenny and Michel have built over the last four decades has provided a vital creative network to so many artists. While much of the past was focused on 'majors versus indies', it's clear that today, the important divide in our industry is about those committed to artist development versus those committed to quantity over quality.

"We share Kenny and Michel's passion for developing artists and moving culture, and we recognise that a healthy music ecosystem needs companies like [PIAS] who are committed to amplifying the best voices in independent music."

[PIAS] Group was founded in 1983 and currently employs more than 300 staff, according to Music Business Worldwide.