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London/Sire In Negotiations To Purchase 50% Of Capricorn Records

Warner Music Group's London/Sire arm is in negotiations to purchase 50% of Capricorn Records, highly placed sources said.

However, the label, which is home to platinum rockers 311, is still 50% owned by the Island Def Jam Music Group, a division of Universal Music Group.

For the WMG deal to be made, London/Sire would have to pony up the money for Capricorn to buy back the outstanding half from UMG, sources said. Insiders place that figure in the neighborhood of $15 million.

UMG took ownership of half of Capricorn after it completed its purchase of PolyGram two years ago. At that time, Capricorn had a joint venture deal with Mercury Records, a unit within the PolyGram group of labels.

Informed sources told Hitsdailydouble.com (you are here!) that discussions were ongoing between Warner Music Group chief roger ames',390,400);">roger ames',390,400);">Roger Ames, London's Peter Koepke and Capricorn's Phil Walden, who founded the Atlanta-based label.

If the deal is done, insiders say Capricorn artists would further bolster the London/Sire roster, one of the many moves Ames is expected to make in the coming months. London is the label founded by Ames that WMG recently acquired from Universal and merged with its Sire unit. London was also a part of PolyGram and was turned over to Universal following the acquisition.

Capricorn has been in discussions with other entities over the past year in an attempt to leave the UMG fold. But talks with both the Buena Vista Music Group and Hamburg, Germany-based edel records broke down.