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Believe Shares Rise on Warner Music Interest & More Music Stocks

(WMG) revealed its interest in acquiring the French music company.

Believe shares rose 2.5% to 15.88 euros ($17.38) after WMG announced its interest in the owner of distributor TuneCore, publishing administrator Sentric and such record labels as Naïve and Groove Attack. Last week, Believe announced it had interest from an unnamed party, which caused the share price to exceed the 15 euro ($16.52) per share offer from a consortium led by CEO Denis Ladegaillerie and investment funds EQT and TCV. After the potential suitor was given a name, Believe’s share price rose even more. WMG, which hasn’t made an official offer, said it would pay “at least” 17 euros ($18.60) per share. WMG shares fell 4.4% to $33.93 this week. 

With Believe trading at 15.88 euros ($17.38), investors don’t appear convinced that WMG will make an offer at 17.00 euros. Not only would WMG need to pass regulatory scrutiny, the Ladegaillerie consortium has a head start and appears to be moving quickly to close the deal. Last week, the consortium said it waived the board’s condition that an independent expert weigh in on its offer’s fairness to shareholders. WMG’s announcement singled out the maneuver, stating that “WMG considers that such a waiver violates a number of rules of French securities regulations which are meant to protect shareholders (including the sellers and their investors) and the Company, and that the validity of such waiver could be challenged.” 

Sphere Entertainment Co. shares rose 10.1% this week to $48.77, adding $127 million to the company’s market capitalization and bringing its year-to-date gain to 43.5%. Three of four live music companies posted gains in an otherwise muted week for music stocks: German promoter CTS Eventim gained 2.2% to 75.10 euros ($82.19), while on Thursday (Mar. 7), Live Nation shares surpassed $100 for the first time since May 2, 2022. The concert giant finished the week up 2.7% to $99.75. 

The 20-company Billboard Global Music Index fell 0.9% to 1,700.37 this week as half the stocks were gainers, nine were losers and one was unchanged. Streaming stocks had an average gain of 4.2% thanks to an 18.4% improvement by music streamer LiveOne. Abu Dhabi-based streaming company Anghami rose 3.2%. The bigger streaming companies lost ground, however. Spotify fell 1.6% to $259.40, a rare stumble for a stock that has gained 38.1% year to date. Deezer shares dropped 0.4% to 2.24 euros ($2.45).

K-pop stocks were down across the board this week. JYP Entertainment, home to Twice and Stray Kids, fell 8.0%. SM Entertainment, home to aespa and Girls’ Generation, dropped 6.5%. HYBE sank 2.3% and YG Entertainment, the company behind BLACKPINK, slipped 1%. The four companies have an average year-to-date loss of 22.7%. HYBE’s 16.7% decline in 2024 is the best of the group. Elsewhere, JYP Entertainment shares have fallen 33.1% and SM Entertainment and YG Entertainment dropped 20.6% and 20.4%, respectively. 

Stocks were mixed globally. In the United States, the Nasdaq composite dropped 1.2% to 16,085.94 and the S&P 500 declined 0.3% to 5,123.69. U.S. stocks reached new records on Thursday following comments by Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell that indicated the central bank will ease interest rates. “If the economy evolves broadly as expected, it will likely be appropriate to begin dialing back policy restraint at some point this year,” Powell told the House Committee on Financial Services on Wednesday (Mar. 6).

Stocks ended the week on a down note after Friday’s U.S. jobs report offered mixed messages to investors. Total confirmed payroll rose by 275,000 in February, but at the same time, the unemployment rate rose by 0.2 percentage points to 3.9% and wages rose just 0.1% in February — not necessarily welcome indicators, but perhaps signs that the Federal Reserve can move ahead with future rate cuts without fearing the economy will overheat. 

In the United Kingdom, the FTSE 100 fell 0.3% to 7,659.74. South Korea’s KOSPI composite index rose 1.4% to 2,680.35. China’s Shanghai Stock Exchange index improved 0.6% to 3,046.02. 

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