Warner Music´s upsized IPO raises $1.9 billion in biggest U.S. listing this year

U.S. 2020/6/3

Warner Music´s upsized IPO raises $1.9 billion in biggest U.S. listing this year

(Reuters) - Warner Music Group <WMG.O>, the world´s third-largest recording label, said on Wednesday its upsized initial public offering raised $1.93 billion in the biggest U.S. listing so far in 2020.

The company increased the offering to 77 million class A shares at $25 per share, valuing it at $12.75 billion. It had initially proposed to offer 70 million shares.

The entire offering comprises existing investors selling stock. Warner Music, home to artists such as Cardi B, Ed Sheeran and Bruno Mars, had set a target range of $23-$26 per share for the IPO.

The upsized offering points to improving appetite for new issues, which came to a halt in March as stocks plunged following the global spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Warner Music had planned to price the IPO on Tuesday but postponed by a day to mark #BlackOutTuesday, a social media event to show support for racial justice.

The music industry is seen as more resilient to weakness in the broader economy, though Warner Music has cautioned that the outbreak has hurt physical revenue streams and delayed the release of new recordings, movies and television programs.

Warner Music, majority owned by billionaire Len Blavatnik´s Access Industries, posted net loss of $74 million in the second quarter ended March 31, compared with a profit of $67 million a year earlier. Its debt totals $2.98 billion.

With companies and investors unable to meet in person due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Warner Music is the latest firm to complete its IPO through a virtual roadshow.

Virtual roadshows have meant companies have been able to complete their IPOs in as little as four days. The shorter roadshow has served as a hedge against volatile financial markets.

Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs are among the underwriters for Warner Music´s IPO.

(Reporting by Joshua Franklin in New York

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