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Polygram To Acquire Island Records

August 2, 1989

LONDON (AP) _ Polygram NV, the world’s third-largest music recording company, said Tuesday it agreed to acquire the privately held Island music group, best known for developing Jamaican reggae music.

The price was not disclosed but it was rumored in recording industry circles to be about $332 million.

The 27-year-old, London-based Island group was founded and owned by the Jamaican entrepreneur Chris Blackwell. It consists of the Island Records Ltd. recording company, music publisher Island Music Ltd. and Island Visual Arts Ltd., a company that produces music videos.

″Island will continue to operate creatively as an independent and autonomous group with Chris Blackwell as chief executive,″ David Fine, Polygram’s president, said in a statement.

Island controls recordings by the late reggae singer Bob Marley plus those of singer Steve Winwood, the Spencer Davis Group and others.

It has a stable of well-known popular music artists, including the Irish rock band U2, as well as artists such as Melissa, Anthrax and Tom Waits.

Financial details of the company were not disclosed.

Also London-based, Polygram’s popular artists include Dire Straits, Elton John and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

With annual sales of over $1.7 billion, it controls 15 percent of the international recorded-music market.

The company is 90 percent owned by the Dutch electronics group NV Philips. The remaining 10 percent is owned by an institutional investor that Philips won’t identify.

Polygram was formed in 1962 through the merger of the recording industry operations of Philips and the West German electronics group Siemens AG, which pulled out of the venture completely by 1987.

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