Hal Leonard acquires part of UK music company

Milwaukee music publisher continues to expand

One of Hal Leonard's educational publications.

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:11 pm

 

Milwaukee-based print music publisher Hal Leonard LLC today announced it has acquired a portion of UK-based The Music Sales Group. The terms of the transaction, which closed Tuesday, were not disclosed.

One of Hal Leonard’s educational publications.

Hal Leonard is the largest educational music publisher in the world, with the top-selling products for learning guitar, piano and school music instruments. It has a catalog of more than 220,000 titles and its products are sold in more than 65 countries. Hal Leonard has more than 450 employees at 13 corporate offices worldwide.

The Milwaukee company bought the physical and online printed music and Musicroom-branded retail businesses of The Music Sales Group. Hal Leonard also will take over a joint venture it had with Music Sales called Hal Leonard Europe and a company in which it was a partner with Music Sales called Music Sales America.

The acquisition will allow Hal Leonard to expand its geographic reach in Europe, said Keith Mardak, chairman of Hal Leonard.

“They’re bigger than us in Europe by far,” Mardak said. “They’re larger in volume and the number of people and their reach. For Europe particularly, it puts us by far and away the largest in Europe.”

Mark Mumford, managing director of Hal Leonard in Europe, will work to integrate operations there.

“We’ll be doing a lot of merging where we both have offices, particularly in London and Germany,” Mardak said.

Music Sales has about 220 total employees. Mardak said employment decisions haven’t been made yet.

“Printed music has played a special role in the long history of Music Sales, but our direction of travel has been very clear in recent years as we continue the expansion of our portfolio of copyrights in all styles and genres across the world,” said Robert Wise, chairman and owner of Music Sales. “In making this deal, it was important for us to find the right buyer for our printed music business and we are confident that Keith Mardak and his team at Hal Leonard will do a great job with this business in the future.”

Hal Leonard has made several acquisitions in recent years. In February 2017, it acquired music publication e-commerce site Sheet Music Plus, and in 2016, it acquired play-along recording company Music Minus One and Mequon-based educational piano score publisher Schaum Publications. The acquisitions have been driven by the 2016 sale of the majority of Hal Leonard by Mardak and his wife Mary Vandenberg to California private equity firm Seidler Equity Partners to advance its strategic growth.

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Molly Dill
Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.