Today, Francisco Partners, a leading global investment firm that specializes in partnering with technology and media businesses, announced its growth investment and funding of the combination of Hal Leonard, the legendary sheet music publisher and music-learning provider, and Muse Group, an industry leader in music content and creation. The partnership of the two companies creates a leading global music learning content platform, solidifies its competitive position in the music creation industry, and allows for significant growth potential to lead content and education in both the traditional and digital form.
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Hal Leonard’s exclusively licensed, premium arrangements include the world’s most iconic artists and scores from Taylor Swift and The Beatles to John Williams and Disney soundtracks. Combined with over 3 million expert and community-created tabs and compositions, 300 million annual visitors and over 40 million accounts on Muse Group’s Ultimate Guitar and MuseScore, the joint business now includes a content library of over 5.5 million scores, tabs, books, video courses, backing tracks, and presets.
“This partnership will create more music makers worldwide and will lead to even more advances in music education technology, while also expanding ways creators and rights holders can make their musical works more widely available," said Larry Morton, Hal Leonard’s Chairman. "Hal Leonard and Muse have been working closely together in commercial partnerships for over fifteen years and have built trust and mutual respect over that time. Combining the strengths of both companies is a truly exciting prospect, full of potential ways to grow the music industry in new directions.”
“Our passion for improving the lives of all musicians has always been at the heart of Muse Group and we’re immensely excited to partner with the Hal Leonard team who share that passion,” said Eugeny Naidenov, CEO of Muse Group.
“We are excited to partner with Muse Group and Hal Leonard to help enable their combination and usher in the joint company’s next stage of growth. The combined business will offer its customers unparalleled content and technology focused on music learning across digital, print, and educational channels,” said Matt Spetzler, Partner & Co-Head of Europe at Francisco Partners. “We are thrilled to provide a tailored capital solution in support of this transaction and are excited to back the innovative growth strategy of the combined company,” added Lee Rubenstein, Managing Director at Francisco Partners.
While Hal Leonard will join Muse Group, both companies will retain their respective headquarters in the U.S. and Cyprus, respectively, and distinct operational expertise. The combined company will apply Francisco Partners’ investment to accelerate organic and inorganic growth and is actively looking to partner with innovators in the sector.
Hal Leonard was advised by Lincoln International and JEGI CLARITY as its financial advisors, and O'Melveny & Myers LLP as its legal advisor. Muse Group was advised by Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. as its legal advisor. Francisco Partners was advised by Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP as its legal advisor.
About Muse Group:
Muse Group is a visionary, international team of music lovers and audio obsessives, empowering millions of creatives to play, produce and compose every day. The company began life in 1998 as Ultimate Guitar, a tab sharing site that grew into the world’s most popular online musician community. Muse Group now includes products such as MuseScore, Audacity, StaffPad and more.
About Hal Leonard:
Hal Leonard is the world-leader in sheet music publishing, and boasts a storied history of providing music learners with the very best arrangements of popular music for over 70 years. With experienced teams based all over the globe, Hal Leonard also supplies books, instruments, gear and software to millions of educators and learners worldwide.
About Francisco Partners
Francisco Partners is a leading global investment firm that specializes in partnering with technology and technology-enabled businesses. Since its launch nearly 25 years ago, Francisco Partners has invested in more than 400 technology companies, making it one of the most active and longstanding investors in the technology industry. With approximately $45 billion in capital raised to date, the firm invests in opportunities where its deep sectoral knowledge and operational expertise can help companies realize their full potential. For more information on Francisco Partners, please visit www.franciscopartners.com.