Investment Supports Furthering AMRA, Enriching Kobalt Technology Innovation, and Expanding Kobalt’s Footprint as the Leading Independent Global Music Publisher
SEPTEMBER 7, 2022 - Kobalt today announced that it has selected leading global technology and media-focused investment firm Francisco Partners (FP) to invest in the business. The firm will take a controlling interest in the company. Willard Ahdritz will continue as Kobalt's Chairman, and the company will continue to be led by its existing management team Laurent Hubert, CEO, Jeannette Perez, President and COO, Catrin Drabble, CFO, and Nuno Guerreiro, CTO.
Founded by Ahdritz as a music and technology company built for artists, songwriters, publishers, and labels as an alternative to the traditional music business model, Kobalt has cemented its place as the top global independent publisher.
Said Willard Ahdritz, Kobalt Founder and Chairman, “For over 20 years, Kobalt has been a music leader with technology as a core part of our focus, and I can’t think of a better investor than Francisco Partners to back our vision and invest deeply in our ambitious technology development and creator services. Having known the team at Francisco Partners for two years, I am excited to invite them into the Kobalt family. I look forward to working with them as Kobalt Chairman. This backing is a testament to what we’ve built at Kobalt, and we will continue working to improve the industry for our clients. I would also like to make a special point to thank all those who believed in Kobalt from the start: investors, clients, and employees, who all contributed to building this great company, thereby changing the game for creators."
"Kobalt has been an agent of change and innovator for the past 20 years, and as a result, we have built an extraordinary brand and creative destination for the best creators in the world,” said Laurent Hubert, CEO of Kobalt. “We look forward to working with Francisco Partners to embark on Kobalt's next innovation chapter. The combination of FP's expertise in technology and our deep understanding of the music industry will ensure that Kobalt expands its reach and impact as a global music publisher. Our mission of being a positive transformative force for the benefit of all creators continues."
“Our investment should help bring more resources, experience, and alignment to continue to build Kobalt as a premier destination for creators, further grow AMRA as the only global digital licensing platform, and support and invest in technology innovation across the entire Kobalt ecosystem to address the needs of creators and publishers,” said Matt Spetzler, Partner at Francisco Partners.
“We believe Kobalt is and should be the premier platform for independent creators, and we look forward to helping them achieve this both organically and inorganically,” added Mario Razzini, Partner at Francisco Partners.
Alongside Francisco Partners, MUSIC and Dundee Partners are also investing in Kobalt. Matt Pincus, CEO of MUSIC, will join the Board of Kobalt post the deal closing.
The investment is subject to customary regulatory and closing conditions.
Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC served as financial advisor to Kobalt, and Raine Group served as financial advisor to Francisco Partners.
Kobalt is a music company powered by innovative technology created as an alternative to the traditional music business model. The company has become the leading independent music publishing destination for artists, songwriters, and publishers. Across 13 global offices, Kobalt serves over 700,000 songs, representing some of the biggest songwriters in the world, including Roddy Ricch, Max Martin, FINNEAS, Karol G, Andrew Watt, Stevie Nicks, Phoebe Bridgers, The Lumineers, Gunna, Justin Quiles, The Foo Fighters, Paul McCartney, and many more. On average, Kobalt represents over 40% of the top 100 songs and albums in the US and the UK.
Kobalt continues to drive innovation in music through Kobalt’s unique services and technology platform that tracks and collects royalties for the trillions of micro-payments in digital music today. The company continues to transform the industry, most recently via AMRA, its global digital music collection society designed to maximize value for songwriters and publishers in today's digital age, while providing the highest level of transparency and efficiency.For more information about Kobalt, please visit www.kobaltmusic.com.
About Francisco PartnersFrancisco Partners is a leading global investment firm that specializes in partnering with technology and technology-enabled businesses. Since its launch over 20 years ago, Francisco Partners has invested in more than 400 technology companies, making it one of the most active and longstanding investors in the technology industry. With approximately $45 billion in capital raised, the firm invests in opportunities where its deep sectoral knowledge and operational expertise can help companies realize their full potential. For more information on Francisco Partners, please visit www.franciscopartners.com.