UMG to acquire majority stake in Nigerian music company Mavin Global

UMG to acquire majority stake in Nigerian music company Mavin Global

Universal Music Group is to acquire a majority investment in Mavin Global. 

The deal remains subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close by the end of Q3 2024.

The Lagos, Nigeria-based label is behind many of the continent’s Afrobeats artists. Founded in 2012 by artist, producer, music executive and entrepreneur Michael Collins Ajereh (aka Don Jazzy), Mavin has played a key role in breaking Afrobeats artists within Africa, and beyond.

The multi-award-winning label has enjoyed rapid growth, alongside commercial success. In the inaugural week of the US Afrobeats Songs Chart in 2022, Mavin artist Rema’s Calm Down featuring Selena Gomez was No.1. The song has been a streaming smash in the UK (in partnership with Virgin) and Rema is performing at the BRITs this weekend.

Mavin is home to artists including Ayra Starr, Ladipoe, Johnny Drille, Crayon, Magixx, Bayanni, Boyspyce, DJ Big N, Lifesize Teddy and Rema. 

Calm Down has gone on to become the biggest Afrobeats song of all time, the most viewed video of all time by an African artist on YouTube, and the first African artist-led track to surpass one billion Spotify streams.

Ayra Starr’s track Rush was nominated for the inaugural Best African Music Performance Grammy. Its music video is the most viewed music video by a female Nigerian artist on YouTube.

The Mavin team’s full-service offering in Nigeria will be amplified through UMG’s global network of labels and businesses. Currently distributed internationally [ex-Africa] through Virgin Music Group with Rema, Mavin and its roster are already integrated into UMG’s global network, with multiple signings across US labels, including Republic partnering for Ayra Starr, and Interscope for Lifesize Teddy.

Mavin will maintain autonomy over its strategy and future talent development. As part of the agreement, founder and CEO Don Jazzy and COO Tega Oghenejobo will continue leading the company.

“The partnership will accelerate Mavin's strategic advancement and create more opportunities to break more talent globally, expand the reach of its existing roster and continue building its business into a super-serving, pan-African entertainment company,” said a statement. 

Mavin’s brilliant artists have been catalysts in the transformation of Afrobeats into a global phenomenon

Sir Lucian Grainge

Mavin's Artist Academy trains new talent in music and performance skills and builds connections within the roster, while their executive leadership programme seeks to develop the next generation of music industry talent in Africa.

The investment provides UMG with an opportunity to increase its presence in Afrobeats and greater exposure to the fast-growing African market. In 2022 Africa represented the fastest-growing continent for recorded music consumption, with Sub-Saharan Africa growing at 34.7% year on year, according to the IFPI, the only region to grow more than 30% that year. 

In the first half of 2023 streams of Afrobeats in the US market increased by 34% year on year.

Mavin CEO Michael Ajereh (Don Jazzy) said: “ I'm proud of the artists, careers and brand we've built that have made Mavin the force it is today. In this historic partnership with UMG, we will continue that mission in Africa and across the globe.”

Mavin COO Tega Oghenejobo said: “With our proven history of collaborations within the UMG family, we have a strong belief that they are the ideal partner for the next phase of our growth, given the diversity and potential of our business. UMG is home to some of the world's foremost music entrepreneurs and artists, making them a perfect match for our aspirations. By collaborating with UMG, we are dedicated to cultivating a vibrant creative environment that propels African music to new heights on the global stage."

Sir Lucian Grainge, chairman & CEO of Universal Music Group, said: “Our criteria for identifying partners is straightforward: great artists, great entrepreneurs, great people. With Don Jazzy, Tega, the Mavin Global team and their artist roster, we’ve found ideal partners with whom to grow together. Mavin’s brilliant artists have been catalysts in the transformation of Afrobeats into a global phenomenon and we’re thrilled to welcome them into the Universal Music Group family.”

TPG has fully exited the business, while Kupanda Capital will remain a minority investor and strategic adviser.

UMG was advised by Freshfields, Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie and Bowmans. Mavin was represented by Shot Tower Capital in the transaction and Reed Smith and Olaniwun Ajayi served as legal advisers.

Subscribers can read our feature on Mavin Records.

PHOTO: Don Jazzy and Tega Oghenejobo 


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