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Warner Music Said to Be Considering IPO

September 23, 2004|From a Times Staff Writer

Warner Music Group, the giant music company bought this year by a group led by Edgar Bronfman Jr., is considering an initial public stock offering early next year, sources close to Bronfman confirmed Wednesday.

The IPO would probably be aimed at cashing out the investors that bankrolled Bronfman, including Thomas H. Lee Partners and Providence Equity Partners. Sources estimated that an offering could reap as much as $5 billion.

Bronfman bought the music company in March for $2.6 billion from Time Warner Inc., which has an option to buy as much as 15% of the company for three years after the deal closed.

Warner's artists include Green Day, Madonna and Linkin Park. Analysts have speculated that Warner may ultimately strike a merger deal with rival EMI. A Warner Music spokesman declined to comment.

Bronfman is the former chief executive of Seagram, his family's spirits business. During his tenure running the company, he bought Universal Studios and greatly expanded its music operation.

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