Tencent acquired 8 million Class A shares, worth USD 244 million based on Warner’s current market cap, carving out a 10.4% stake in the newly-listed international music label.
Earlier this year, the Shenzhen-based company, whose subsidiary Tencent Music Entertainment Group (TME, NYSE: TME) runs three popular music apps in China, acquired 10% of Universal Music Group.
With shares in both Warner and Universal Music, the world’s two largest music copyright holders, Tencent has further consolidated its music streaming business domestically, while the firm still harbors ambitions overseas.
Tencent has been building an international copyright network for its music unit: it has shares in Spotify, Warner, and Universal while signing copyright sharing agreements with Sony Music and other popular Kpop labels.
According to a 2016 report by iResearch, Tencent’s TME owns over 90% of the music copyrights available, while competitor NetEase Cloud Music takes around 70%. Alibaba’s music unit only has less than 20%.
In September 2019, the two rivals of TME formed an “alliance” as NetEase Cloud Music raised USD 700 million from Alibaba in its Series B+ fundraising.
However, the various partnerships with global music labels didn’t make copyright purchases cheaper for Tencent.
In the past quarter alone, TME’s cost of revenues including music copyright expenses was USD 612 million, yet revenue from online music services only amounted to USD 289 million, less than a third of the company’s total earnings.