BMG Acquires Stage Three Music

Lionel Conway

Stage Three Music announced it has signed an agreement that will move its copyrights to Berlin-based BMG Rights Management.

Stage Three is a leading independent publisher run by ex-Virgin and Chrysalis CEO, Steve Lewis. The business is headquartered in London, with offices in Los Angeles and Nashville run by Lionel Conway, former President of Island Music, Polygram Music Inc. and Maverick Music Inc. The Nashville office was headed by Tim Hunze. Ingenious Corporate Finance advised the shareholders of Stage Three on the sale.

Stage Three holds the rights to a variety of contemporary compositions performed by Aerosmith, David Essex, Duffy, The Eagles, Eminem, Eric Clapton, Inner City, James Morrison, Johnny Hates Jazz, Mike Oldfield, Rascal Flatts, Take That and ZZ Top. Music rights include well-known compositions “Walk this Way”, “You Get What You Give”, “Gimme All Your Lovin’”, “La Grange”, “Baker Street”, “Dream On”, “Good Life”, “Sing For The Moment” and 60 country music number one singles. The writer roster includes leading Nashville songwriters Brett James and Bobby Pinson and superstar writer producers Steve Robson, Bernard Butler and Andrew Frampton.

Stage Three is BMG’s third investment of significant size made in 2010 and follows the acquisition of Cherry Lane and the Adage IV catalogue in the US. BMG is a joint venture between the international media company Bertelsmann and an affiliate of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., a leading global alternative asset manager.

“It is tremendously important to us to increase our foothold in the UK – the hottest and most competitive music market in the world,” Hartwig Masuch, CEO BMG, said upon signing of the transaction. “Stage Three Music is an iconic music publishing business and one we are very pleased to be buying, not only because of its elite roster of writers but also due to its pro-active approach towards licensing, which perfectly supports our thinking and growth strategy.”

Steve Lewis, CEO Stage Three Music added: “It’s been a privilege to work with such a talented group of colleagues and writers. I’m grateful to our investors for their support and very proud of our achievements and the catalog we’ve assembled over the past seven years. BMG have been very professional purchasers. I’m confident the company is in good hands and I look forward to seeing continued growth under their ownership”.

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David M. Ross has been covering Nashville's music industry for over 25 years. [email protected]

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