HITS Daily Double
"Universal is acquiring a wonderful asset and the sale will assure the strongest possible future
for our artists."
——Mo Ostin, DreamWorks Records


Label to Be Sold and Made Part of Interscope Geffen A&M Unit
Vivendi-owned Universal Music Group will purchase DreamWorks Records and make the label part of its Interscope Geffen A&M unit, effective Jan. 1. The Wall Street Journal's website prices the deal at about $100 million.

Rumors about the deal had been flying for some time, but the WSJ item forced label heads to make an official statement to the company on 10/30.

Mo Ostin, Lenny Waronker, Michael Ostin and Johnny Barbis addressed staff via conference call, but no information has been made available about whether the principals will stay on at the label’s new home or what other staff will remain.

Staffers were told that the label would be folded into the Interscope group but DreamWorks would continue with business as usual on all 2003 releases, with a meeting scheduled with Interscope on 10/31 to discuss 2004 releases.

It was also revealed that A&R would begin contacting artist managers about the transition. No details were offered about which staff would stay on during DreamWorks' next phase, or which artists.

Those on the call learned that discussions of a sale to Vivendi Universal began after DreamWorks' previous distribution deal lapsed. Talk of VU picking up DW distribution turned to talk of an outright sale.

There was discussion of the deal in the context of overall consolidation in the industry, including merger talks between EMI and WMG and meetings between Sony and BMG. Waronker, meanwhile, expressed his belief that the business would improve.

There was, however, an unofficial press release.

"Building DreamWorks Records has been one of the great professional experiences of my career," said Mo Ostin. "I'm proud of the phenomenal artists we've been associated with and the entire DreamWorks Records team. We've had tremendous support from DreamWorks SKG, particularly from David Geffen, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg. Despite the challenges of the music business today, Universal is acquiring a wonderful asset and the sale will assure the strongest possible future
for our artists."

"We are truly excited about the acquisition of DreamWorks Records," said UMG ruler Doug Morris. "Mo, Lenny and Michael and their talented team have built an incredible roster comprised of gold, platinum and multiplatinum-selling artists as well as a host of new acts who will be successful in the future. The acquisition of DreamWorks will bolster our position as the world's leading music company."

Geffen tapped industry legends Ostin, Waronker and Michael Ostin as the label's management team in 1995; the company began releasing records in 1996. Since then, a company release points out, DreamWorks Records garnered 59 RIAA certifications, 26 Grammy awards and noms and "countless critical accolades."