U2, Polygram ink $50 mil deal

Three 'best of' albums to be released

LONDON — Rock supergroup U2 has struck a $50 million deal with Polygram for the release of three “best of” albums.

The deal is unique in that while other veteran acts such as R.E.M., Madonna and Janet Jackson have made hefty deals recently, their contracts were for new material.

The first of the U2 releases, with the working title “The Best Of U2 Volume One 1980-1990,” is due Nov. 2. It will be accompanied by a separate release featuring B-sides. The two may also be combined into a limited-edition double release.

U2 manager Paul McGuinness has negotiated the deal against the backdrop of Seagram acquiring Polygram from Philips for $10.4 billion. The U2 deal, to be finalized this week, should help stabilize Polygram’s share price and therefore avoid another reduction in Seagram’s bid, already cut by $200 million from the original offer.

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