Vote approves payouts to Bronfman, Cohen

Warner Music Group shareholders have approved the $3.3 billion purchase of the company by Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries.

There was little opposition to the transaction: 145,819,757 shares were voted in favor of Access’ merger agreement, while just 165,810 were against. Vote was announced at special meeting Wednesday in New York.

Approval by a majority was a fait accompli: WMG’s majority stockholders — chairman-CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. and representatives of Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital — had committed their 57% stake in the company to approval in advance of the meeting.

Deal must now meet regulatory approval. WMG said it expected the pact to be consummated in the third quarter.

WMG had earlier agreed to settle a pair of lawsuits by dissident stockholders who claimed the deal undervalued the company and were seeking to block the sale (Variety, June 21).Multimillion-dollar golden parachute compensation for some senior executives was also approved in an advisory ballot Wednesday, with 137,738,124 shares voting in favor and 7,755,049 voting against.

Packages included $16.8 million for Bronfman and $10 million for North American chairman-CEO of recorded music Lyor Cohen.

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