Universal Acquires KKR’s Chord Music for $250 Million

Universal Music Takes Stake in Chord Music Partners

In a strategic move, Universal Music has acquired a minority stake in Chord Music Partners, a venture established by investment firms KKR and Dundee Partners in 2021 with the goal of acquiring music catalogues. The major music company made a significant investment of $240 million, securing a 25.8% interest in Chord and valuing the company at $1.85 billion.

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Expressing his enthusiasm for the partnership, Universal Music boss Lucian Grainge emphasized the importance of aligning with like-minded partners who share their dedication to identifying timeless songs and recordings that will ensure long-term growth. Grainge emphasized the commitment to maximizing commercial and creative value for the songwriters and artists within Chord, thereby laying the foundation for future success.

Notable Artists and Songwriters in Chord’s Catalogue

Chord Music Partners boasts an impressive catalogue featuring the works of renowned artists and songwriters, including The Weeknd, Ryan Tedder, David Guetta, Lorde, Kid Cudi, Diplo, Ellie Goulding, and John Legend.

The growing interest of equity funds in acquiring music rights has positioned them as both competitors and clients of traditional record labels and music publishers. Traditional music companies are frequently engaged to manage acquired rights and collaborate on high-value acquisitions, blurring the lines between competitors and partners in the music industry.

Collaboration Between Chord and Universal Music Group

As part of the collaboration, Chord’s song rights will be managed through Universal Music Publishing Group, while recorded music will fall under the responsibility of the major’s Virgin Music Group. The partnership also entails future joint efforts between UMG and Chord in acquiring new music assets.

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Dundee Partners’ Sam Hendel expressed excitement about the partnership with UMG, envisioning the combined strength of a premier financial acquisition vehicle and the world’s leading music company as the foundation for a cutting-edge platform for music investment. This partnership seeks to provide a permanent home for the legacies and iconic cultural works of premier artists.

Transition of Ownership and Future Prospects

Following the completion of the deal with Universal Music, KKR is set to exit the business, leaving Dundee as the sole owner of the remaining 74.2% stake in Chord Music Partners. Commenting on the transition, KKR’s Jenny Box expressed gratitude for the opportunity to collaborate with leading artists, create significant value for investors, and build Chord into a differentiated and scaled portfolio. The belief in further value creation for artists under the stewardship of Dundee and UMG was also highlighted.


The partnership between Universal Music and Chord Music Partners signifies a significant milestone in the evolving landscape of music rights acquisition and management. This collaboration not only represents a strategic investment in music catalogues but also emphasizes a dedication to honoring and preserving the legacies of iconic artists and songwriters.

This joint venture positions Chord Music Partners as a thriving platform for music investment, fueled by the expertise of Universal Music Group. As the industry continues to evolve, the alliance between these entities is poised to shape the future of music rights acquisition and management, creating new avenues for artists and stakeholders alike.

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