In September, we told you about an acquisitive new US-based business called Firebird Music Holdings, backed by Raine Group and co-founded by Nat Zilkha and Nathan Hubbard.
US-based Zilkha is a former Partner at KKR in December 2021, while Hubbard is a former CEO of Ticketmaster and a former global head of Media & Commerce at Twitter.
We revealed that Firebird’s first acquisition was a significantly-sized minority stake in Red Light Management – one of the world’s most established artist management companies. (Red Light’s founder Coran Capshaw continues to lead the company after 31 years at its helm.)
At the time, a source informed us that Firebird was also pursuing a number of other music companies both inside and outside the US, adding that “they seem to have a large stack of capital to play with.”
Today, MBW can reveal details of Firebird’s latest deal – with a widely respected independent record company headquartered in London.
We’ve confirmed that Firebird has made a substantial investment, and acquired a significant stake, in Transgressive Records, run by founding directors Tim Dellow, Toby L and Lilas Bourboulon.
According to a Companies House filing in the UK, the deal was finalized in July/August 2022, and involves Transgressive Records Ltd only. (Transgressive’s sister publishing and management companies remain outside of the Firebird partnership.)
In a statement provided to MBW about the Firebird deal, Transgressive’s co-founders said: “We are thrilled to welcome Firebird as partners in Transgressive Records, enabling and supporting us in our independent journey to build careers for the most musically ambitious and important artists of our times.”
Transgressive Records has worked with, amongst many other artists, Damon Albarn, The Waeve, Dave Okumu, A Month Of Sundays, Beverly Glenn-Copeland, Lupin, Alvvays, Arlo Parks, and Foals.
“We are thrilled to welcome Firebird as partners in Transgressive Records, enabling and supporting us in our independent journey to build careers for the most musically ambitious and important artists of our times.”
BRIT Award-nominated Arlo Parks won the UK’s Mercury Prize for Album of the Year last year for Collapsed In Sunbeams.
UK rock act Foals topped the UK Album chart for the first time in 2019 with their sixth record, Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Pt 2, released via Transgressive.
The label has a long history with Foals, and released the band’s debut album Antidotes (No.3 in the UK Album chart) back in March 2008.
MBW understands that Tim Dellow, Toby L and Lilas Bourboulon will continue to lead the Transgressive Records business following Firebird’s investment.
Ownership of Transgressive Management and Publishing continues to be split exclusively between Tim Dellow, Toby L and Lilas Bourboulon.
A slide within a deck recently sent out by Firebird to acquisition prospects and seen by MBW states that “Firebird has artist management at its core”.
This approach, says the deck, enables Firebird to “benefit from all revenue streams” surrounding an artist, including “streaming, live, IP sales, etc.”.
On his LinkedIn profile, Nat Zilkha writes: “We built Firebird to align with premium talent and empower them with shared passion for music, modern brand activation capabilities and scale financial capital.
“We partner with artists, managers, independent labels & publishers and technology providers to create an integrated ecosystem where creatives thrive.”
During his 15-year career at KKR, Nat Zilkha led or co-led KKR Credit from 2013 – 2020, during which time assets under management grew from $13 billion to over $80 billion. He also co-founded KKR’s Special Situations and Opportunistic strategy.
Zilkha’s additional leadership roles at KKR have included overseeing KKR’s Public Equity investing strategies and acting as a senior member of the North American Private Equity business.Music Business Worldwide