TPG exits Mavin Global to Universal Music Group

Universal Music Group (UMG), the world leader in music-based entertainment, today announced a majority investment in of one of the world’s most dynamic and exciting independent record labels, Mavin Global (Mavin). The deal remains subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close by the end of Q3 2024.

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

The multi-award-winning label has enjoyed rapid growth, alongside commercial success – contributing to the rise of Afrobeats. The growing international interest in the rhythmic sound of the continent spurred Billboard’s launch of its U.S. Afrobeats Songs Chart in 2022 – the first ever music chart dedicated to the genre in the U.S.. In its inaugural week, Mavin artist and global chart topper, Rema’s “Calm Down” featuring Selena Gomez ranked #1 on the list.

Mavin is home to a number of accomplished artists including Ayra Starr, Ladipoe, Johnny Drille, Crayon, Magixx, Bayanni, Boy Spyce, DJ Big N, Lifesize Teddy and Rema, whose hit single “Calm Down” [featuring Selena Gomez] rose to #3 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in a breakthrough for the genre. The track 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 1 Billion Spotify streams.

Ayra Starr’s track “Rush” was nominated for the inaugural Best African Music Performance Grammy and 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 by the investment. Currently distributed internationally [ex-Africa] through Virgin Music Group with Rema, Mavin and its roster are already well integrated into UMG’s unrivalled network, with multiple signings across U.S. labels, including Republic partnering for Ayra Starr, and Interscope for Lifesize Teddy.

As with other UMG businesses, 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 – offering UMG the opportunity to partner with proven local executives and experienced A&R professionals.

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. This mission is anchored in two initiatives: Mavin’s Artist Academy, which trains new talent in music and performance skills and builds connections within the roster, and their executive leadership program, which seeks to develop the next generation of music industry talent in Africa.

The investment provides UMG an opportunity to increase its presence in Afrobeats and greater exposure to the fast-growing African market. Supported by young demographics and increasing connectivity, 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. An increasingly global phenomenon, the Afrobeats genre is the latest in regional sounds to attract a growing, international fanbase. In the first half of 2023 streams of Afrobeats in the US market increased by 34% year on year.

Michael Ajereh 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.”

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 a remain 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 LLP and Olaniwun Ajayi LP served as legal advisers. Management was represented by DLA Piper.