Cutting Edge, Wood Creek buy Varese Sarabande

Duo purchase label for an undisclosed price

Cutting Edge has teamed with Wood Creek Capital Management to purchase Varese Sarabande Records for an undisclosed price.

The acquisition includes the entire operations of the label and its catalogue of over 1,500 albums.

The label was formed in the spring of 1978 by the merger of classical music-oriented labels. VSR is home to film scores written by Bernard Hermann, John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, Maurice Jarre, Elmer Bernstein, Alex North, Miklos Rozsa, Alexandre Desplat, Danny Elfman, Hans Zimmer, James Horner, Randy Newman and Thomas Newman.

Currently, the label releases up to 60 albums a year, including packages of TV episodic and Broadway scores, classic rock, country, and jazz. The label’s domestic distributor is Universal Music Distribution.

Darren Blumenthal, founder of ICE Capital Corp. and a music label and publishing veteran, will become CEO of VSR. Chris Kuchler, who co-founded VSR, will assist during a transition period.

The purchase is the first between Wood Creek and Cutting Edge, which is now managing a combined $100 million of third party funds. CEG is aiming to expand operations a vertically integrated music services company.

London-based Cutting Edge has invested in 200 films — most notably “The King’s Speech” and “Looper” — with the money devoted to scoring, clearances and music supervision, then recoups from such sources as soundtrack and sheet music sales, licensing and royalties from international ticket sales and TV deals.

It has expanded its model into television with an investment in NBC’s “The Firm ” and is also providing music for the advertising world.

In 2008, Cutting Edge received an initial investment of $15 million from investor Aberdeen Asset Management; it set up its first multipicture deal with Joel Silver’s Dark Castle in 2009.

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