Blackstone Capital Partners III LP, an affiliate of The Blackstone Group, the New York-based private investment bank, today announced that it has reached a definitive agreement with AOL Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Music Group and Sony Corporation’s Sony Music Entertainment Inc. to acquire a majority interest in The Columbia House Company.
Both Sony and Warner Music Group will retain minority interests in The Columbia House Company, the world’s largest direct marketer of music, videos and DVD home entertainment products. In addition, Sony and AOL Time Warner will remain important suppliers of music and video content to The Columbia House Company. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Howard A. Lipson, Senior Managing Director of The Blackstone Group said, “This is an exciting opportunity for us to invest behind a first-class management team and a strong brand name. We look forward to working with Columbia House, and with two of our longest-standing corporate partners, Sony and AOL Time Warner, in this transaction.”
Scott Flanders, Chairman and CEO of The Columbia House Company said, “This transaction is a tremendous opportunity for our investors and our management team as we capitalize on the explosive growth of the market for DVDs. It is also a unique opportunity for all of us at Columbia House to work with a first-rate financial partner in Blackstone, while continuing what has been a productive partnership with Sony and AOL Time Warner.”
Financing for the transaction, which is expected to close in June subject to certain government approvals and other customary conditions, is being arranged by UBS Warburg LLC and Banc of America Securities LLC. Blackstone was advised by UBS Warburg and Pathway Ventures.