Warner Music Group showed small year-to-year and quarter-to-quarter improvements in its financial results, with adjusted net losses narrowing to $138 million for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30 from $143 million a year earlier and a fourth-quarter loss of $43 million, narrowed by 7%.
Company said the loss “reflects the impact in interest expense related to the July 2011 refinancing of certain indebtedness in connection with the acquisition of the company by Access Industries.”
While the company was taken private with its $3.3 billion purchase by Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries, it is continuing to issue earnings reports.
Revenue for fiscal 2011 declined 4% to $2.96 billion from $2.98 billion in 2010. Fourth-quarter revenue dropped 6% to $707 million from $753 million a year earlier.
Company said the decline “reflects a light release schedule, as well as the continued transition to digital in the recorded music industry.” Growth in France, Spain and Latin America was offset by drops in the U.S., Japan and the rest of Europe.
In recorded music, WMG’s top sellers during the last quarter included Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bruno Mars, Lenny Kravitz, Blake Shelton and Jason Derulo. Its major acts during the fiscal year included Michael Buble (currently atop the U.S. album chart with his “Christmas” album), Cee Lo Green, James Blunt, the Chili Peppers and Mars.
WMG’s music publishing division, Warner/Chappell, announced small dips in revenue for the fiscal year and fourth quarter, related to an agreement about mechanical royalties payments accrued in prior years.
Earnings report came on the heels of an internal announcement that chairman and ex-CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. would step down in January (Daily Variety, Dec. 6). Bronfman’s departure follows WMG’s abruptly terminated bid for EMI Music.
With completion of Universal Music Group’s $1.9 billion purchase of EMI, WMG will be a distant third among the three major music companies in terms of market share.