SEAN 'P DIDDY' COMBS and WARNER MUSIC GROUP have inked a joint venture deal, giving the company a 50 per cent stake in the rap mogul's BAD BOY RECORDS.

Under the new deal, Warner will market and handle digital and physical distribution of Bad Boy's new and catalogue releases worldwide.

The label's roster of current and former artists includes MASE, Mario WINANS, Notorious BIG and Combs himself.

While financial details of the partnership have not been released, two sources familiar with the deal say Warner paid about $30 million (GBP15.7 million) for an agreement that will last at least three years.

Combs, whose entertainment empire also includes music publishing, clothing, restaurants and television ventures, will remain chief executive of New York-based Bad Boy Records.

The deal also marks an early end to Combs' distribution deal with UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP, which had been set to expire in mid-2006.

Combs says, "There have been a lot of boutique record labels that come and go, and we're still here. This has ensured for the next couple of years that we have the right financial backing, the right financial structure, the right partners to remain a force in the music industry."

15/04/2005 02:56