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Label News (more headlines) 08-10-2014

Warner Music Group Corp. Reports Results For Fiscal Third Quarter Ended June 30, 2014

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Warner Music Group Corp. announced its third-quarter financial results for the period ended June 30, 2014.

"A stronger release schedule, combined with sustained investment in exceptional artistic talent and first-class execution by our operators, delivered robust results this quarter," said Stephen Cooper, Warner Music Group's CEO. "We are especially pleased to see our strategic moves pay off, with the acquisition of Parlophone Label Group (PLG) being a key contributor to this quarter's success. We expect our momentum to continue through the remainder of the fiscal year, due to several exciting artist releases in the coming months."

"We are pleased with our financial performance with key highlights including solid revenue growth, improvement in Adjusted OIBDA and an increase in our cash balance as compared to the prior-year quarter," added Brian Roberts, Warner Music Group's Executive Vice President and CFO. "Excluding the non-recurring costs associated with the PLG acquisition and integration, our cash flow from operations was strong and we remain committed to delivering solid free cash flow in the quarters to come."

Total WMG Summary Results

For the quarter, total revenue grew 18.9% (or 16.9% in constant currency) reflecting a stronger release schedule and the July 1, 2013 acquisition of Parlophone Label Group ("PLG"). Excluding PLG, total revenue increased 3.5%. Both U.S. and international revenue grew, 11.4% and 23.8%, respectively, led by strength in Recorded Music revenue. Prior to intersegment eliminations, U.S. and international revenue represented 38.3% and 61.7% of total revenue, respectively, compared to 40.9% and 59.1% of total revenue, respectively, in the prior-year quarter. Recorded Music revenue grew 22.8% and Music Publishing revenue grew 2.2% due to strength in digital revenue. Digital revenue grew 26.1% representing 41.1% of total revenue, compared to 38.8% in the prior-year quarter. Growth in digital revenue reflects the acquisition of PLG as well as strong growth in streaming revenue. Excluding PLG, digital revenue increased 11.7%.

On an as-reported basis, OIBDA declined slightly to $66 million from $69 million in the prior-year quarter and OIBDA margin contracted 2.0 percentage points to 8.4% from 10.4%. The decline in OIBDA and OIBDA margin is a result of one-time charges related to PLG restructuring and integration costs and real estate costs related to moving the company's corporate headquarters (the "Q3 2014 Charges"). Excluding the Q3 2014 Charges, Adjusted OIBDA was $109 million versus $79 million in the prior-year quarter and Adjusted OIBDA margin was 13.8% compared to 11.9% in the prior-year quarter. Excluding PLG, Adjusted OIBDA increased 3.8% to $82 million. As-reported operating loss was $15 million compared to as-reported operating income of $8 million in prior-year quarter reflecting a decline in OIBDA as a result of the Q3 2014 Charges and higher amortization expense resulting from the PLG acquisition. Net loss was $184 million compared to a net loss of $62 million in the prior-year quarter, and included $141 million of loss recorded on extinguishment of debt.

Adjusted operating income, Adjusted OIBDA and Adjusted net loss exclude the Q3 2014 Charges. See below for calculations and reconciliations of OIBDA, Adjusted operating income, Adjusted OIBDA and Adjusted net loss.

As of June 30, 2014, the company reported a cash balance of $142 million, long-term debt of $3.033 billion and net debt (total long-term debt, including the current portion, minus cash) of $2.904 billion. There was no balance outstanding on the company's revolver as of June 30, 2014.

Cash used by operating activities was $38 million compared to cash provided by operating activities of $22 million in the prior-year quarter. The decline primarily reflects the decline in OIBDA as a result of the Q3 2014 Charges. Free Cash Flow, defined below, was negative $55 million compared to negative $25 million in the prior-year quarter due to the decline in cash from operating activities and an increase in capital expenditures to $16 million from $10 million in the prior-year quarter. The $6 million increase in capital expenditures was primarily due to leasehold improvements related to relocating the company's corporate headquarters and consolidating offices in the U.K.

Recorded Music Summary Results

Recorded Music revenue increased 22.8% (or 20.8% in constant currency) reflecting a strong release schedule. Excluding PLG, revenue increased 3.7%. Total physical and digital revenue grew 21.0% (0.2% excluding PLG), Artists Services and Expanded Rights revenue grew 35.3% (33.8% excluding PLG) and licensing revenue grew 21.2% (7.7% decline excluding PLG). Digital revenue growth of 26.7% was driven by the strong release schedule, the acquisition of PLG and growth in streaming revenue. Digital revenue represented 45.6% of total Recorded Music revenue, compared to 44.2% in the prior-year quarter. Domestic Recorded Music digital revenue was $149 million, or 58.9% of total domestic Recorded Music, revenue compared to 57.8% in prior-year quarter. Excluding PLG, digital revenue increased 11%. Major sellers included Coldplay, The Black Keys, Ed Sheeran, Linkin Park, Led Zeppelin, Jason Derulo and Lily Allen.

Recorded Music operating income margin contracted 2.4 percentage points to 1.7% from 4.1% in the prior-year quarter. Recorded Music OIBDA was up 14.5% to $71 million while Recorded Music OIBDA margin declined 0.8 percentage points to 10.8% from 11.6% due to the Q3 2014 Charges.

Music Publishing Summary Results

Music Publishing revenue grew 2.2% on an as-reported basis and 0.7% in constant-currency. Digital revenue grew 22.7% due to growth in streaming revenue. Digital revenue represented 19.7% of total Music Publishing revenue, compared to 16.4% in the prior-year quarter. Performance revenue was up 2.0% driven by the timing of collection society distributions. Mechanical revenue fell 6.1% in the quarter due to the continued transition from physical to digital sales. Synchronization revenue fell 3.8% due to changes in the licensing marketplace.

Music Publishing operating income margin declined 3.8 percentage points to 4.4% from 8.2% in the prior-year quarter. Music Publishing OIBDA declined to $24 million, while Music Publishing OIBDA margin declined 3.4 percentage points to 17.5% from 20.9% primarily due to the flow through of certain higher margin deals in the prior-year quarter. While Music Publishing OIBDA was down in the quarter and can fluctuate from quarter to quarter due to revenue mix and timing of collections, for the nine months ended June 30, 2014, Music Publishing OIBDA was up 1.0% and OIBDA margin was steady at 25.3% compared to 25.7% in the prior-year period.

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