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MAX MAKES A MERCH DEAL

Max Lousada is jumping into the merch business. Warner Music Group will acquire EMP Merchandising Handelsgesellschaft, the European specialty music and entertainment merchandise e-tailer.

WMG is buying EMP from private equity firm Sycamore Partners and will keep the company as a stand-alone, direct-to-fan business unit within WEA, WMG’s global artist and label services division headed by President Tony Harlow.

CEO Ernst Trapp and CFO Jan Fischer will continue to manage EMP as a fully staffed organization. Terms of the deal were not announced. Based on an SEC filing, first reported by Music Business Worldwide, the price tag is about $180m.

Among the bands EMP handles merchandise for are Twenty One Pilots, Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, Nirvana and Pink Floyd. The company operates a network of websites serving 18 European countries.

“In today’s streaming world, merchandise is still one of the best ways that fans can express their passions and personalities,” said Lousada, CEO of Recorded Music, WMG. “It’s also a big part of how music has visible and physical impact on global culture and fashion. Welcoming EMP will be our latest move to expand our relationships with influencers across the globe.”

Trapp said, “By joining WMG, we will be able to expand our international reach, explore new genres, reach new audiences, and take fan experience to a whole new level.”

This deal follows other recent acquisitions, among them Sodatone, UPROXX and Songkick.

The acquisition is anticipated to close in the fourth calendar quarter of 2018 by which time all employees are expected to be able to pronounce “Handelsgesellschaft.”

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