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UMG Takes Over Mavin Records


March 4, 2024

Universal Music has acquired a majority stake in Nigerian record label Mavin, founded by Don Jazzy and home of Afrobeats superstar Rema.

Although the terms of the deal were not disclosed, Billboard previously reported a likely sales price of around $125 million, with the company being valued in the region of $150 million to $200 million.

Whatever the exact amount, this means a healthy return for Mavin’s previous majority investor, PE firm TPG Growth, which has now fully exited the business.

In 2006, Nigerian music producer Don Jazzy launches Mo’ Hits Records with artist D’banj. However, Mo’ Hits is not successful and the label dissolves in 2012.

Undeterred, Don Jazzy immediately starts another label, Mavin records. He brings onboard a young brand and marketing exec called Tega Oghenejobo.

In 2017, Don Jazzy is approached by investor Bobby Pittman of Kupanda Capital. Bobby sees the opportunity in the growth of Afrobeats, but believes Mavin needs to strengthen its internal capacity and processes in order to capture it. 

In an unusual but inspired move, Kupanda joins as founding investor and takes a very hands-on approach, sending its own team members from the US to Lagos to help Don Jazzy structure his business. Quick learner Tega rises fast and becomes COO of the company.

In 2019, Kupanda Capital and PE mastodon TPG create the joint-venture Kupanda Holdings and make a big bet by investing $10 million in Mavin. The TPG partner leading the deal tells Don Jazzy and Tega: “I’m investing in you because you have failed.”

Don Jazzy and Tega get to work doing what they do best: signing and developing new talents. 

In 2020, the pandemic hits and revenue from live concerts suddenly hits zero around the world. Kupanda Holdings puts more money in to allow Mavin to survive.

In 2023, Mavin artist Rema breaks the internet with his hit song ‘Calm Down”, remixed with Selena Gomes. The song becomes the first track by an African artist to reach 1 billion streams on Spotify.

By now, Mavin has a solid roster of talents, which also includes Ayra Starr (most viewed music video by a female Nigerian artist on YouTube for “Rush”), Crayon, Ladipoe, Johnny Drille and others.

In 2024, after the customary 7 years investment period, TGP exits to Universal after a competitive bidding process.

As part of the deal, Don Jazzy and Tega will remain at the helm with Kupanda as strategic advisors, and they have no intention to calm down.