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Universal Music Group Acquires Majority Stake In Mavins Records



Don Jazzy

Universal Music Group (UMG) has acquired a majority stake in Lagos, Nigeria-based music company Mavin Global (Mavin).

UMG describes Mavin as “the driving force behind many of the continent’s Afrobeats artists”.

Founded in 2012 by artist, producer, music executive and entrepreneur, Michael Collins Ajereh (aka Don Jazzy), Mavin has played a prominent role in breaking Afrobeats artists within Africa, and globally.

Monday’s (February 26) news arrives around five years after Mavin secured a multi-million dollar investment (in 2019) from Kupanda Holdings, a joint venture between pan-Africa investment company Kupanda Capital and TPG Growth.

TPG has now fully exited the business, while Kupanda Capital will a remain minority investor and strategic adviser.

According to UMG, Mavin will “maintain autonomy” over its strategy and future talent development. As part of the agreement, founder and CEO Don Jazzy and COO Tega Oghenejobo will continue leading the company.

The deal remains subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close by the end of Q3 2024.

Mavin is home to a number of top Afrobeats artists including Ayra Starr, Ladipoe, Johnny Drille, Crayon, Magixx, Bayanni, Boyspyce, DJ Big N, Lifesize Teddy and Rema, whose hit single Calm Down [featuring Selena Gomez] rose to No.3 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in a breakthrough for the genre.

The track has gone on to be one of the biggest Afrobeats songs of all time, becoming the first African artist-led track to surpass 1 Billion Spotify streams.

Ayra Starr’s track Rush was nominated for the inaugural Best African Music Performance Grammy and its music video is the most viewed music video by a female Nigerian artist on YouTube.

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Universal said on Monday that Mavin’s operations in Nigeria will be amplified through UMG’s global network of labels and businesses by the investment.

Currently distributed internationally [ex-Africa] through Virgin Music Group with Rema, UMG noted that Mavin and its roster are already “well integrated” into UMG’s network, with multiple signings across U.S. labels, including Republic partnering for Ayra Starr, and Interscope for Lifesize Teddy.

UMG also said on Monday that the partnership will accelerate Mavin’s strategic advancement and create more opportunities to break more talent globally, expand the reach of its existing roster and continue building its business into “a super-serving, pan-African entertainment company”.

This mission, according to UMG, is anchored in two initiatives: Mavin’s Artist Academy, which trains new talent in music and performance skills and builds connections within the roster, and their executive leadership program, which seeks to develop the next generation of music industry talent in Africa.

In 2022 Africa represented the fastest-growing continent for recorded music consumption, with Sub-Saharan Africa growing at 34.7% YoY, according to the IFPI, the only region to grow more than 30% that year.,

Michael Ajereh said: “ I’m proud of the artists, careers and brand we’ve built that have made Mavin the force it is today. In this historic partnership with UMG, we will continue that mission in Africa and across the globe.”

Tega Oghenejobo added: ” With our proven history of collaborations within the UMG family, we have a strong belief that they are the ideal partner for the next phase of our growth, given the diversity and potential of our business.

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“UMG is home to some of the world’s foremost music entrepreneurs and artists, making them a perfect match for our aspirations. By collaborating with UMG, we are dedicated to cultivating a vibrant creative environment that propels African music to new heights on the global stage.”

Sir Lucian Grainge, Chairman & CEO of Universal Music Group, said: “Our criteria for identifying partners is straightforward: great artists, great entrepreneurs, great people. With Don Jazzy, Tega, the Mavin Global team and their artist roster, we’ve found ideal partners with whom to grow together.

“Mavin’s brilliant artists have been catalysts in the transformation of Afrobeats into a global phenomenon and we’re thrilled to welcome them into the Universal Music Group family.”

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