White & Case, SJB advise on Sony purchase of Now That's What I Call Music! stake

White & Case and SJ Berwin have taken the lead roles on Sony’s acquisition of a stake in the Now That’s What I Call Music! compilation business from Universal Music Group.

The deal, the value of which is undis-closed, has seen parent company Universal sell off EMI Recorded Music’s European rights in the Now business, though it will retain pre-existing rights to the compilation series in Europe, as well as acquiring EMI Recorded Music’s rights outside of Europe.

Since launching in 1983, the Now series has generated sales of more than 200 million albums worldwide, including more than 84 million copies in the UK.

White & Case advised Sony, fielding a London team led by M&A partner Gavin Weir, with support from corporate partner Andrew Weiler, IP counsel John Benjamin, senior corporate associate Jennifer Cho and associates Marcus Collins and Alex Bircham.

SJ Berwin again took the lead role for Universal on the latest in a string of divestments for the music group, with corporate partners William Holder and Mark Sanders heading up the firm’s efforts.

In February, both partners led a team advising Universal on its sale of Parlophone to Warner Music for £487m.

The latest mandates come after Universal’s £1.2bn purchase of EMI was given the green light by the European Commission last September, with the takeover approved on the condition that Universal sold 60% of EMI’s European assets.