Top firm advises BMG on Alberts acquisition

This is the first Australian corporate acquisition for BMG, taking over the 131-year-old company which launched AC/DC.

Herbert Smith Freehills has advised BMG on the acquisition of J Albert & Son Pty Limited, the German firm’s first Australian corporate acquisition.

Alberts, which has a 131-year history and launched the careers of AC/DC and The Easybeats among others, will form part of BMG Australia. Financial details of the acquisition were not revealed.

The Herbert Smith Freehills team was led by Kristin Stammer, Andrew Rich and John Natal, and supported by Melissa Sanghera and Isabel Grelak.

“Alberts is one of the world’s leading independent music publishers and has a rich history in Australian music. Its acquisition by BMG promises to create a dynamic leader in the Australian music industry,” said Stammer.

“Our team very much enjoyed working with the BMG ‎team to finalise the documents in a short timeframe. The firm has a long history acting for BMG’s affiliates on their significant Australian corporate transactions – we are very pleased to have had the opportunity to continue this association.”

Meanwhile, it was revealed that as part of the deal, the Albert family will retain its interests in the AC/DC and Vanda, Young & Wright catalogues with BMG administering the publishing cataloques worldwide for the family.

BMG’s acquisition of Alberts comes after launching BMG Australia four months ago in Sydney.
Heath Johns, BMG Australia’s managing director, will continue to run the firm.

“No company has left a mark on Australian music like Alberts,” he said. “It is an honour for BMG Australia to protect this profound legacy and also work with its exciting contemporary roster to further build their careers at home and abroad.”

“This is a big vote of confidence in Australian talent and a recognition of Australia’s status as the biggest international exporter of recording talent after the US and UK.”

Alberts CEO David Albert, on the other hand, said that the sale was a “difficult decision to make”.

However, he noted, “as music grapples with its digital future, with new distribution models and the influence of global technology companies, we believe BMG is in the best position to take the business forward.”

“BMG has a global presence, an artist-friendly approach to business and a genuine desire to invest in and support the Australian music scene,” Albert said.

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