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Losses narrow at Warner Music

WMG marks its last quarter as publicly traded stock following sale

In its last quarter as a publicly traded stock, Warner Music Group posted a narrowed net loss of $46 million for the three months ended June 30 vs. a loss of $55 million in the same quarter of the last fiscal year.

WMG went private last month with its $3.3 billion purchase by billionaire Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries (Daily Variety, July 21). But on Thursday’s earnings call, CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr., said the company would continue to hold calls with bondholders and the investment community on a quarterly basis.

Total revenue of $686 million was up 5% from the prior-year quarter. Digital revenue of $203 million accounted for 30% of the total, up 13% from $179 million a year earlier.

The company’s operating income was $10 million vs. an operating loss of $1 million in the prior-year quarter. Operating income included $10 million in severance charges ($3 million in the recorded music division, $2 million in music publishing and $5 million in corporate).

Income in the quarter was lifted by $12 million in settlement money derived as WMG’s share from the major labels’ successful suit against file-sharing firm LimeWire.

In recorded music, revenue increased to $545 million, up 5% over the prior-year quarter (but down 0.5% on a constant currency basis). Domestic recorded music revenue dropped 8.1% to $227 million, but international recorded music grew $16.9%.

The quarter’s top sellers included Bruno Mars, Superfly, Wiz Khalifa, Hugh Laurie and Cee Lo Green.

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