BMG to acquire Germany's largest independent record company in its biggest global deal for 5 years

BMG to acquire Germany's largest independent record company in its biggest global deal for 5 years

BMG has signed a purchase agreement to acquire Germany’s largest independent record label Telamo, the leading player in the market for German Schlager music.

With a combined market share of 8.5% based on figures from Longplay, a merger would create one of the largest German label divisions across all genres.

The deal, which the company said was secured in “a competitive process”, is BMG’s biggest single label acquisition in Germany to date. 

Although terms were not disclosed, it is BMG’s largest label investment since the acquisition of Nashville-based independent country music label BBR Music Group in 2017. That BBR deal was approximately $105 million.

BMG has continued its run of acquisitions in recent months, including catalogue deals for Simple Minds, Daniel Lanois and Jean Michel-Jarre.

The Telamo acquisition includes not just Telamo and its labels, but also the leading digital offering Schlager Für Alle, which has over 1.7 million users via Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok.

Telamo was founded in 2012 by Kathleen Herrmann, Ken Otremba and Marko Wünsch. All 29 employees, as well as MD Ken Otremba, will remain with the company. Telamo will continue to maintain its offices in Munich and Berlin. Kathleen Herrmann and Marko Wünsch will continue to act as consultants for Telamo.

Eight of Germany’s Top 25 Schlager/Deutschpop artists are signed to Telamo. Best-selling artists include Giovanni Zarrella, Eloy de Jong, Marianne Rosenberg, Ross Antony, Die Amigos, Thomas Anders & Florian Silbereisen, Daniela Alfinito, and Fantasy among many others.

The strategic transaction will open up additional cooperation opportunities for Telamo artists via the Bertelsmann Content Alliance and BMG sister companies, including broadcaster RTL Group and book publisher Penguin Random House.

Maximilian Kolb (pictured, left, with Ken Otremba), BMG, EVP repertoire & marketing Continental Europe, said, “Over the course of the past 10 years, Telamo has skillfully taken Schlager into the digital age. We are thrilled to welcome Telamo’s wonderful artists and of course its team. BMG and Telamo share the same values of respect for artists. The combination of the two of us will have a major impact on the German language music market.”

The combination of the two of us will have a major impact on the German language music market

Maximilian Kolb

Telamo founder Ken Otremba said: “Since our inception, our goal has been to create the optimal and most modern conditions for our artists. We are proud and excited now to welcome our artists to a brand-new chapter. Telamo will maintain its previous partnerships but will now offer access to more opportunities – both domestic and international.”

Kathleen Herrmann said: “As founders of Telamo we are convinced the best future for the company is in collaboration with BMG. We very much look forward to working with the BMG team and the wider BMG network.”

Entrepreneur Marko Wünsch, of German consulting and technology company Artcom, said: “We have been working together with Bertelsmann companies for 25 years now. BMG were the first to help us release products. The first artist was Elvis Presley, followed by Ronny – still a longtime seller today. With Ken, formerly with BMG Ariola, and Kathleen we helped grow artists’ careers including Fantasy. We know each other well and we know that the new BMG is the right partner for our future.”

BMG’s chief content officer Dominique Casimir said: “This transaction redraws the map of the German music industry, creating a new force outside the traditional business. We anticipate strong synergies both within the Bertelsmann Group and with our international businesses.”

Since re-entering the recordings market in Germany more than a decade ago, BMG has scored success with artists including Max Giesinger, Kontra K, Lins, Stefanie Heinzmann, Nils Frahm, Adel Tawil, Anna Loos, Cypress Hill, Trettmann and Kitschkrieg. Recordings account for around half of BMG’s revenues in Germany.

With a 15% share Schlager – often described as Germany’s answer to country music – is the most popular genre in Germany after pop/pop rock (33%), followed by rock/hard rock/heavy metal (13.9%), pop 'oldies' (9.4%) and dance/electro (8.6%).

The transaction is subject to the scrutiny of the Austrian Federal Competition Authority. Subject to their approval, the transaction is expected to close by the end of August.


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