May 7, 2020 / 3:59 PM / in 20 days

Warner Music forges ahead with market debut despite COVID-19 gloom

(Reuters) - Warner Music Group said on Thursday it received an approval to list its shares on the Nasdaq stock exchange in what could be a rare initial public offering after the COVID-19 pandemic forced a number of companies to put their plans on hold.

The recording label, home to artistes including Cardi B, Ed Sheeran and Bruno Mars, said on Thursday it had been approved to list its Class A common stock under the symbol "WMG". bit.ly/2YIFNVB

Warner, which filed for an initial public offering in February, was bought by billionaire Len Blavatnik’s investment group, Access Industries, for about $3.3 billion in 2011.

The world’s third-largest music recording label had in March delayed it plans to kick off the debut - set to be one of the year’s larger IPOs, raising in excess of $1 billion, Reuters reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The health crisis has rocked global capital markets in the past two months and slammed the brakes on IPOs. In January, buyout firm Carlyle Group Inc (CG.O) delayed the U.S. IPO of its German specialty chemicals group Atotech.

Other companies that have put their IPO plans on ice include Cole Haan Inc and 58 Home.

Warner posted a net loss of $74 million in the second quarter ended March 31, compared with a profit of $67 million a year earlier, its filing document showed.

Warner said in a regulatory filing the virus outbreak had hurt physical revenue streams, citing disruptions in manufacturing and physical supply chains, including mandated closure of physical retailers.

“The requirement that people stay in their homes has impacted our business in other ways, such as, making it impossible to hold live concert tours, adversely impacting our concert promotion business and the sale of merchandise,” it said.

The disease outbreak had also delayed the release of new recordings and disrupted the production and release of motion pictures and television programs, hurting licensing revenue.

Warner Music said in February that Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs were among the underwriters to the offering. reut.rs/2WapKhx

Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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