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Believe boss plays down Sony acquisition reports 

By | Published on Tuesday 18 July 2017


The boss of digital distribution and label services firm Believe has played down reports that the company is about to be acquired by Sony Music.

As previously reported, those reports originated in Japanese business newspaper Nikkei, which said that Sony was about to take a majority stake in the music distribution company. Sony has been busy growing the distribution side of its business of late, which is now primarily focused around its wholly owned subsidiary The Orchard.

But Believe chief Denis Ladegaillerie told Billboard that any reports that “we have concluded a deal with Sony to sell Believe are absolutely not true”. However, he confirmed that his company has been exploring various new financing options, in part to fund its own acquisition ambitions, and that has included having conversations with both private equity firms and other possible investors, which may or may not include Sony Music.

He added: “In parallel to that process we are having selected strategic discussions with players that have approached us about strategic investments or full acquisition along the way. Our focus is on how do we grow and build the business. In that regard, we are having discussions with a handful of strategic players that understand the changing dynamics in the artist and label services market, share our business philosophy, and where we see a strong strategic fit to better serve artists and labels”.

Ladegaillerie is keeping his options very much open, saying that all serious offers and proposals will be considered by the company’s current shareholders, though he concluded: “Are we now in a short term future, pure sale process? No”.

Sony Music has made strategic investments in independent distribution firms before that ultimately led to it taking full ownership, though usually years later. Indeed, that’s how it came to own The Orchard. Whether Sony will be a strategic investor in Believe’s latest funding round and – if so – quite what stake it will take in the business, remains to be seen.