Global technology and media-focused investment firm Francisco Partners has acquired a majority stake in Kobalt.
Following the private equity firm’s move to take a controlling interest, Willard Ahdritz will continue as Kobalt's chairman. 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.
Alongside Francisco Partners, MUSIC and Dundee Partners are also investing in Kobalt. Matt Pincus, CEO of MUSIC, will join the board of Kobalt after the deal closes.
Willard Ahdritz said: “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.
The investment is subject to regulatory and closing conditions.
Goldman Sachs served as financial advisor to Kobalt and Raine Group served as financial advisor to Francisco Partners.