Universal Music Group acquires a Majority Stake in Nigerian Label Mavin Global

Universal Music Group has acquired a majority stake in Mavin Global, the renowned label founded by Don Jazzy, which represents artists like Rema, Ayra Starr, Crayon, and Ladipoe.

The companies have announced that the deal is anticipated to be finalised by the third quarter, subject to regulatory approval.

The terms of the agreement were not revealed. In October, Billboard reported that Mavin was being shopped by Shot Tower Capital at a valuation above $125 million, with a potential sale price ranging from $150 million to $200 million. It remained uncertain if publishing was part of the deal. Don Jazzy, the founder of Mavin in 2012, and COO Tega Oghenejobo will continue to lead the label as part of the investment deal.

“Our criteria for identifying partners is simple: exceptional artists, successful entrepreneurs, and outstanding individuals,” UMG chairman/CEO Lucian Grainge stated when announcing the deal. “We have found ideal partners in Don Jazzy, Tega, the Mavin Global team, and their artist roster to grow together.” Mavin’s talented artists have played a key role in the evolution of Afrobeats into a worldwide sensation, and we are excited to have them join the Universal Music Group.

Mavin had already established a strong connection with UMG, with Rema’s hit song “Calm Down” making waves, reaching No. 3 on the Hot 100 last year. The song was initially distributed by Virgin Music, with a remix featuring Selena Gomez licenced to Interscope. Starr, on the other hand, has a deal with Republic. “Calm Down” has accumulated over 1 billion on-demand streams in the U.S. since its debut, with an even higher count worldwide.

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The investment aims to boost Mavin’s global expansion, focusing on Mavin’s Artist Academy and executive leadership team to develop musical talent and future African music industry leaders.

“With our successful track record of partnerships within the UMG family, we are confident that they are the perfect match for our future expansion, considering the variety and potential of our business,” Oghenejobo stated. “UMG is home to some of the world’s top music entrepreneurs and artists, making them an ideal fit for our goals.” Through our partnership with UMG, we are committed to fostering a dynamic creative atmosphere that elevates African music to a higher level internationally.

Securing the Mavin auction propels UMG further into the Nigerian Afrobeats scene — the umbrella genre that includes Afropop, Afro fusion, high life and others that is gaining popularity worldwide. Over the past few years, artists like Wizkid, Davido, and Burna Boy have risen to international fame, while emerging talents such as Rema, Starr, Tems, Tyla, Ckay, Asake, and Fireboy DML are making their mark from Africa. The trend has picked up speed, leading to the Recording Academy creating a Grammy Awards category for outstanding African music performance. Tyla’s “Water” won the award at the recent ceremony.

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