Ithaca Holdings LLC., a media holding company led by SB Projects founder Scooter Braun, has acquired Big Machine Label Group, the independent record label founded by Scott Borchetta, the companies announced today.
The acquisition encompasses all aspects of BMLG’s business, including its client roster, distribution deals, publishing sides and owned artist masters — including the rights to Taylor Swift’s first six album.
Borchetta will join the Ithaca board, acquire a minority interest in Ithaca and remain president/CEO of BMLG. BMLG will continue normal operations out of Nashville.
The price was more than $300 million, according to the Wall Street Journal, which also reported that Carlyle Group, a minority investor in Ithaca, will contribute more cash, bringing Ithaca to an $800 million-plus valuation.
BMLG signed Swift at the beginning of her career and helped develop her into a global superstar. After Swift’s contract with Big Machine expired last fall, she signed a deal for future recordings, including the seventh album due in August, with Universal Music Group.
Carlyle will remain a minority shareholder in Ithaca and continue to support the combined company’s growth strategy with Jay Sammons, head of Carlyle’s global consumer team, remaining on Ithaca’s board.
“The idea of Scott and I working together is nothing new; we’ve been talking about it since the beginning of our friendship,” Braun said in a statement. “I reached out to him when I saw an opportunity and, after many conversations, realized our visions were aligned. He’s built a brilliant company full of iconic songs and artists. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? By joining together, we will create more opportunities for artists than ever before, by giving them the support and tools to go after whatever dreams they wish to pursue.”
“Scooter and I have been aligned with ‘big vision brings big results’ from the very first time we met in 2010,” said Borchetta. “Since then I have watched him build an incredible and diverse company that is a perfect complement to the Big Machine Label Group. Our artist-first spirit and combined roster of talent, executives and assets is now a global force to be reckoned with. This is a very special day and the beginning of what is sure to be a fantastic partnership and historic run.”
Ithaca’s recent transactions include the launch of Mythos Studios in partnership with Marvel Founding Chairman David Maisel, the acquisition of Atlas Publishing and partnerships with Jason Owen’s Sandbox Entertainment as well as Morris Higham Management. Ithaca also has a long-standing investment in and partnership with Aubrey “Drake” Graham and Adel “Future” Nur. In 2019, Ithaca launched Raised in Space, an investment fund led by former BMG President Zach Katz.
Founded in 2005 by Borchetta, BMLG is home to artists including Reba McEntire, Sheryl Crow, Florida Georgia Line, Thomas Rhett, Rascal Flatts and Lady Antebellum. The label group encompasses four imprints including Big Machine, Valory, BMLG Records and Big Machine/John Varvatos Records. In 2012, BMLG launched publishing company Big Machine Music, which publishes songwriters such as Luke Combs, Jonathan Singleton, Brandy Clark and Laura Veltz.