Concord Records, Inc. and Fantasy, Inc. today announced that Concord has completed its acquisition of Fantasy and has merged the two companies to form a new entity called the Concord Music Group, Inc. Concord Records is a prominent 31-year-old, active record label focused on jazz, traditional pop and adult contemporary formats that is currently enjoying considerable success in 2004 with the multi-platinum release of Ray Charles' final recording, "Genius Loves Company" (in association with Starbucks Hear Music(TM)). Fantasy owns one of the world's largest and most prestigious catalogs of jazz, blues, R&B and rock music, including certain music publishing assets and legendary recordings by John Coltrane, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Miles Davis, Bill Evans, Ella Fitzgerald, Vince Guaraldi, Isaac Hayes, Little Richard, Albert King, Thelonious Monk, Joe Pass, Art Pepper, Otis Redding, Sonny Rollins and numerous others. Fantasy also owns and operates the world-class Fantasy Recording Studios in Berkeley, Calif. Following the merger, the Concord Music Group will be one of the foremost adult-focused recorded music companies in the world.
As part of the transaction, Tailwind Capital Partners, a leading private equity investment firm focused on media and other growth sectors of the economy, provided new equity capital to the Concord Music Group. The existing owners of Concord Records, Norman Lear and Hal Gaba, remain substantial shareholders in the combined entity. Concord's management will also have a share of the new company.
Ralph Kaffel, President of Fantasy, said, "During the negotiations and due diligence process, we got to know the principals and key employees of Concord quite well, which re-affirmed the correctness of our initial judgment that Concord is the proper home for our catalogs. Having spent fifty years in the record business, 33 of them at Fantasy building up the catalogs, my primary concern as well as that of the other principals, was that the acquiring entity should have the proper understanding and respect for the treasure that we are turning over to them, and be willing to perpetuate the historical legacy these catalogs represent. With Norman, Hal, Glen Barros and all the other talented people now at the helm at the Concord Music Group, my colleagues and I are convinced the Fantasy catalog is in very good hands."
Glen Barros, President and CEO at Concord, and now president and chief executive officer of the Concord Music Group, said, "I am incredibly honored to be in a position to help carry the Fantasy legacy into the future. I am so enthusiastic about this merger, about working with the talented professionals involved from both sides and the great opportunities for the combined companies going forward."
Douglas M. Karp and Lawrence B. Sorrel, co-chief executive officers of Tailwind, said, "Concord Music Group targets an attractive, underserved niche with strong brands and an incredible catalog of content with proven value. Together, these two companies have considerable prospects for growth by exploiting complementary catalogs as well as to create substantial shareholder value through operational efficiencies. We look forward to working together with Norman, Hal, Glen and the rest of this world-class management team to realize that promise."
Concord Records is widely regarded as one of the preeminent record companies in the industry today, committed to offering the adult music audience inspiring, innovative and high quality recordings of jazz and popular music. With a family of labels that now includes several partnerships and imprints (Peak Records, Stretch, Playboy Jazz, Concord Picante and more), Concord has amassed a catalog of over 1,000 albums from such legendary artists as Ray Brown, Charlie Byrd, Rosemary Clooney, Herb Ellis, Stan Getz, Gene Harris, Tito Puente and Mel Torme, among others. The label's current roster of world-class vocal and instrumental artists includes: Karrin Allyson, Patti Austin, Regina Belle, Peter Cincotti, Michael Feinstein, Nnenna Freelon, Robben Ford, Latoya London, Marian McPartland, Barry Manilow, Ozomatli, Eddie Palmieri, The Rippingtons, Poncho Sanchez and Curtis Stigers.
Fantasy, Inc. is home of one of the largest and most prestigious collections of jazz and blues music in the world. The label's first artist was Dave Brubeck, and recordings by Cal Tjader, Gerry Mulligan/Chet Baker, Vince Guaraldi (whose "A Charlie Brown Christmas" is a perennial seasonal best-seller), Mongo Santamaria and John Lee Hooker soon followed. In 1968, just one year after Fantasy was purchased by Saul Zaentz, currently Fantasy's Chairman and a triple Academy Award-winning film producer, Creedence Clearwater Revival released its debut recording. Within 18 months, the band scored no fewer than 20 Hot 100 singles and nine consecutive top 10 singles in the U.S.; eventually they would become one of the most successful four-man rock n' roll bands of all time, earning at least 21 RIAA-certified gold or platinum records.
Today, the Fantasy labels include Contemporary/Good Time Jazz, Debut, Fantasy, Galaxy, Kicking Mule, Milestone, Pablo, Prestige/New Jazz, Riverside/Jazzland, Stax/Volt/Enterprise, Specialty and Takoma. The company's publishing assets include the catalogs of Cireco Music, Composers Music, Contemporary Music, Jondora Music, Orpheum Music, Parker Music and Prestige Music. Fantasy's catalog of original soundtrack recordings includes music from the Academy Award winners for Best Picture "Amadeus," "The English Patient" and "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," as well as the original animated version of "The Lord of the Rings."
Tailwind Capital Partners is a private equity firm focused on the growth sectors of the economy, including media and communications, healthcare, technology, and business services. Tailwind manages Thomas Weisel Capital Partners L.P., a $1.3 billion private equity fund affiliated with investment banking firm Thomas Weisel Partners LLC, with backing from leading institutional investors. Tailwind's portfolio of over 25 companies includes NextMedia (radio broadcasting), Trover Solutions, Inc. (insurance services), Aircast Incorporated (orthopedic devices), Hospital Partners of America (hospital management) and Ion Systems (technology capital equipment). Tailwind's team of 15 dedicated investment professionals brings to bear an exceptional combination of private equity and operating experience and is headquartered in New York and San Francisco.