A Look At The Man Who Is Buying Warner Music: Russian Billionaire Len Blavatnik
According to multiple sources, Russian born billionaire Len Blavatnik and his Access Industries are the front runners to buy the Warner Music Group. The deal, worth a reported $3 billion, could close as early as Friday. But who is Len Blavatnik and what clues can we find about how he might run one of the world's four remaining major music groups? First and foremost, it's important to understand that he is no stranger to WMG or its CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr.
Blavatnik has had a seat on the WMG board for 4 years. He also bought Bronfman's Upper East Side town house in 2007 for about $50 million, a sale said to have been one of the most expensive housing deals ever in Manhattan. In fact, Blavatnik has a history of paying top dollar for things he wants. Whether that will translate to bidding for artists is anyone's guess.
Born June 14, 1957 in Moscow , Blavatnik currently lived in New York and London. By some measures he is the world’s 80th wealthiest man. Forbes estimates his fortune at $10.1 billion.
Most of his wealth comes fron his Access Industries, which is a part owner in AAR, a group of Russian oligarchs (Blavatnik reportedly hates the term) that owns 50% of energy giant TNK-BP. The other half is owned by BP.
The good news, according to the Guardian, is that Blavatnik doesn't want to overload Warner Music with more debt. He'll reportedly assume WMG's already hefty $2 billion in loans and write an equity check of another $1 billion plus.
Many observers believe that Blavatnik's next move will be a run at purchasing EMI from Citi.