Music Industry Update

There are two major changes shaking up the industry at both Universal Music and Warner Music. At Universal Music, David Rezner, chairman and chief executive since 2004, announced his departure in a memo to his staff earlier last week. Apparently there was no reason for his departure but he did say that he was interested in “devoting more time to the nonprofit, charity and philanthropic areas I have long valued, as well as some potentially exciting entrepreneurial options.” In Rezner’s place will be Universal’s president and chief operating officer, Zach Horowitz. Other changes at Universal, Barry Weiss became chair and chief executive of the Island Def Jam/Universal Motown Republic Group and Antonio Reid left in March to become a judge on Simon Cowell’s “X-Factor”. In July, Doug Morris, Universal longtime chairman, will become Sony Music’s chief executive.

At Warner Music, according to someone close to the deal, the company could be sold by the end of the week in a deal valued at over $3 billion. The two groups bidding for the deal, Len Blavatnik’s Access Industry and Tom and Alec Gores’ Platinum Equity and Gores Group. Of course, while the final round of bids is supposed to happen early this week, there is no guarantee that the deal will happen. LA Times reported that all parties declined to comment. “The key issues for Warner Music’s board are price and simplicity of the transaction process,” said one of the people familiar with the talks.

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