Sony Music, Virgin subsid in co-venture

V2 Records Japan latest development in expansion strategy

TOKYO — Sony Music Entertainment has entered into a joint-venture pact with record company V2 Music Group Ltd., a subsid of Richard Branson’s U.K.-based Virgin Group.

The new company, to be dubbed V2 Records Japan, is the latest overseas outpost to bow under the V2 moniker, and is part of the growing music company’s expansion strategy led by Jeremy Pearce, CEO of V2 Music Group.

The V2 Music Group, which bowed in 1996 and has been expanding its reach throughout the world, has already opened affiliated outposts in South Africa, Italy, Germany and Sweden, and has South American and other Asian ventures on the drawing board.

The new V2 Records Japan will have an initial capital of 450 million yen ($3.3 million), according to Sony execs.

The new venture anticipates sales of 1 billion yen ($74 million) in the fiscal year that ends March 31, 1999, Sony Music said.

The first issues from the new venture will hit the Japan market July 18.

(Adam Sandler in Los Angeles contributed to this report.)