Sure, we’ve needled Warner Music Group chairman/CEO Edgar Bronfman a bit on this site in the past. And maybe we have been a little too critical. Taking a huge raise while his company crumbles? Who cares? His hometown newspaper essentially declaring him incompetent to run a business? A mere shiny distraction alongside his greatness. Giving sweetheart deals to his relatives to run subsidiary labels that don’t actually release music, as HITS is reporting? Uh oh.
Edgar was shown the business ropes by his dad, so what’s the big deal? I’m sure your family member that runs a publicly traded company does this same sort of thing all the time.
SEC documents filed earlier this year reveal that Junior OK’d a distribution and upstream deal with Green Owl Records, whose majority shareholder is rock musician Benjamin Brewer, Bronfman’s son from his former marriage to actress Sherri Brewer, whose only credit is a role in the movie Shaft. Green Owl has a two-year-plus option deal with WMG, but so far nothing has been released through the agreement. If that’s the case, what’s the money being used for?
…But here’s where the plot really thickens. Bronfman’s family ties extend to a November 2006 deal, listed in the above-mentioned SEC filing, for a three-year licensing agreement with Lev Group Ltd. for the “distribution of Warner Music Group repertoire in Israel in digital and physical formats.”
Holly. B. Lev, who’s listed as owning 100% of the Lev Group, is Bronfman’s sister. Lev has a colorful background, adopting the name Bhavani when she co-founded the company Organic India, a Google search reveals, but she had no known connection to the music business until securing the deal distribution deal from her brother.
Googling the name Lev Group Ltd. produces no results whatsoever, begging the question: exactly what kind of company is Lev, and does it have deals with any other labels?
To Benjamin Brewer’s credit, he is reportedly engaged to marry M.I.A., so that might count as an upstream deal, right? That has to count for something.
If there’s not more to this story (and it’s probably just as likely that the “more” to the story might be more on the incriminating side than the vindicating one), you really have to wonder how much longer shareholders, who aren’t likely to stay cheered up by the week Death Cab spent at No. 1 for long, will put up with this sort of mismanagement.
BRONFMAN TURNS WMG INTO A “FAMILY BUSINESS” [HITS Daily Double]