Warner Music makes a grand entry with $1.93 billion IPO on Nasdaq

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Warner Music Group Inc.’s stockholders have accumulated close to $1.93 billion in one of the biggest US listings this year as the world’s third-largest recording label made an initial public offering surpassing its initial estimates.

Investors in the firm traded 77 million shares at $25 apiece, above the average of a marketed range. The company’s subscribers were earlier looking for a sale of 70 million shares at $23 to $26 each.

The event indicates the restored strength of US offerings after a gap caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. With consumers stuck at their homes look for entertainment, the New York-based company’s emphasis on streaming revenue has connected well with investors.

According to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, corporations managed by major owner Len Blavatnik and current executives are agents in the stock sale and Warner Music is not expected to any gains as Blavatnik, through Access Industries LLC, will hold Class B shares and hold about 99 percent voting power in Warner Music after the offering.

Warner Music and its shareholders had paused the IPO pricing by one day to avoid trading shares on “Blackout Tuesday,” which saw artists and stars call for online musical performances and related events to be canceled to show backing for the demonstrations across the US against police brutality.

Warner Music and Blavatnik’s family foundation began a $100 million fund to finance charitable causes related to the music industry, social justice and campaigns against violence and racism.

Warner Music’s catalog includes an extensive range of artists, from Lizzo, Dua Lipa and Ed Sheeran to Coldplay, Prince and Neil Young. Its roadshow presentation involved screenshots of quarantine concerts streamed on Instagram Live, as well as popular clips on TikTok.

The IPO is led by Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse Group AG, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. The stocks are anticipated to begin selling on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol WMG.