ISTANBUL, 26 JULY 1999 — Universal Music has expanded its already sizeable presence in the Turkish music market by acquiring additional stakes in its four record labels there.

In a new agreement with its Turkish joint venture partner Raks Müzik, Universal has increased its shareholdings in Universal Music Turkey (formerly PolyGram Plaza) from 51 to 100 percent and in Nese Müzik, Mars Müzik and S Müzik from 25 to 51 percent. Raks Müzik continues to hold the rest of the equity in the labels. All four labels will retain their separate identities under the direction of Universal Music Turkey CEO, Sevket Gözalan, who now also becomes CEO of each of its three sister companies.

Jorgen Larsen, chairman and CEO of Universal Music International, said: “We believe that the music market and general economy in Turkey are at a stage where substantial growth can be expected in the years to come. Combined with an active local scene, where our successful joint-venture is well represented, we saw the acquisition of a majority stake in all Raks Müzik labels as an important step in our continued geographic expansion.”

Gözalan said: “I am delighted that Universal now controls the largest music operation in Turkey. We will keep the four existing label identities so that we can continue to cover all of the various genres of music in the expanding Turkish music market. Increasing the presence of Universal Music in Turkey will hopefully also help the development of the market here as our industry works to strengthen copyright protection. We want to expand our sales of international repertoire in Turkey, open the Turkish market to foreign songwriters and producers, and – together with the rest of the industry – work on turning Turkey into a reliable base for further expansion in the region.”

Together, Universal Music Turkey, Nese Müzik, Mars Müzik and S Müzik are the largest music group in Turkey with a share of over 40 percent. They are especially strong in local repertoire which accounts for over 90 percent of the Turkish market. The group’s current top selling artists include Ibrahim Tatlises, whose last album At Gitsin has now sold two million copies on S Müzik, Nese Müzik’s Muazzez Ersoy, who last year sold a million copies of her triple album Nostalji 4-5-6 and new signing Emrah who recently sold 800,000 units of his last album, and Mars Müzik’s top singer/songwriter Serdar Ortac.

The Universal Music Turkey label, which releases all of Universal’s international repertoire in Turkey, is the country’s market leader in international music, enjoying success this year with albums by Metallica, Cranberries and Bryan Adams. The company also develops and markets local talent, including Sezen Aksu (who co-writes for Universal Music France’s Turkish superstar Tarkan), Çelik and Izel, and has a successful music publishing division.

Universal Music Turkey distributes repertoire from all four labels throughout Turkey and the Turkish speaking republics of the former Soviet Union such as Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan as well as to countries with Turkish-language markets such as Germany.

Universal Music Group is the world’s leading music company with wholly-owned record operations or licensees in 59 countries around the world. Its businesses also include Universal Music Publishing Group, one of the industry’s largest global music publishing operations, and Universal Concerts.

Universal Music Group consists of record labels A&M, Blue Thumb, Decca Record Company, Def Jam, Deutsche Grammophon, Geffen, GRP, Impulse!, Interscope, Island, MCA, MCA Nashville, Mercury, Mercury Nashville, Motown, Philips, Polydor, Universal, and Verve as well as a multitude of record labels owned or distributed by its record company subsidiaries around the world.

Universal Music Group is a unit of The Seagram Company Ltd., a global entertainment and spirits and wine company.