BMG buys Universal’s Sanctuary label for £40m

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SANCTUARY Records, home to heavy metal acts Black Sabbath, pictured, Iron Maiden and Motörhead, is being bought for an estimated £40 million by music rights management company BMG.

The German group has agreed to buy the label from Universal Music, which is being forced by European regulators to shed a number of businesses following its acquisition of rival EMI. Last week Warner Music said it would pay Universal £487m for EMI’s Parlophone business, which counts Blur and Coldplay among its acts.

Universal, owned by French media giant Vivendi, bought Sanctuary for £44.5m in 2007.

Along with rights to 19 Black Sabbath albums, BMG will gain punk anthems from The Damned and Sham 69, the US rights to Iron Maiden’s first 13 albums and more than 170,000 other recordings.

BMG chief executive Hartwig Masuch said: “We believe this deal will be good news for those artists, good news for our partners, particularly in the independent sector, and good news for the music industry as a whole.”