Hamburg, 14 February 2002: Universal Music International (UMI) has acquired the European recorded music and music publishing operations from the Koch Group – one of the leading independent German language repertoire labels, with key operations in Bavaria and Austria. The acquisition excludes the US based operations of the Koch Group, the Austrian distribution centre, and is subject to regulatory approval.

Koch’s artist roster includes best selling acts such as Kastelruther Spatzen, Nockalm Quintett, Die Klostertaler, Jantje Smit, among others.

The Koch Music operation was established 26 years ago by Franz Koch. It has since grown to become a leading independent record company for German language repertoire. The company will report to Tim Renner, Chairman and CEO, Universal Music Germany and Vico Antippas, President Germany, Switzerland & Austria. Although the Koch management team will stay in place, Franz Koch will give up his day-to-day management duties, but will become a member of the Supervisory Board of Universal Germany.

Commented Jorgen Larsen, Chairman & CEO of UMI: “I am extremely pleased that we had the unique opportunity to acquire the major music assets of the Koch Group – one of Europe’s leading independents for popular and alpine music. Not only does this significantly enhance our presence in this growing market segment, it does so with artists and music strategically and professionally accumulated over the years by one of the best run companies in its field.”

Tim Renner added: “Traditional popular music (Volksmusik/Schlager) rounds out our portfolio, increases our market share in the German speaking world and will enable us to further leverage both of our distribution systems and infrastructures to exploit this sector. In popular music, as in all other music styles, it is supremely important that the music is authentic and credible and developed and marketed by experts in that field. Franz Koch and his team have built up these skills and impressively demonstrated them over the last few years and I am very much looking forward to this exciting addition to our repertoire.”

Franz Koch, founder and CEO of Koch International, Europe said: “I am delighted to bring Koch Music into the Universal Music fold. This vote of confidence by the leading music company is not only gratifying, but will allow us to further develop our market position and ensure a bright future for our artists and writers.”

The company will continue to operate under the Koch name and labels and it is envisaged that the majority of members of staff will remain with the acquired operations.

Universal Music International is a division of Universal Music Group, the world’s leading music company with wholly-owned record operations or licensees in 63 countries around the world. Its businesses also include Universal Music Publishing Group, one of the industry’s largest global music publishing operations.

Universal Music Group consists of record labels Decca Record Company, Deutsche Grammophon, Interscope Geffen A&M Records, Island Def Jam Music Group, Lost Highway Records, MCA Nashville, MCA Records, Mercury Records, Motown Records, Philips, Polydor, Universal Records, and Verve Music Group as well as a multitude of record labels owned or distributed by its record company subsidiaries around the world. The Universal Music Group owns one of the most extensive catalogs of music in the industry, which is marketed through two distinct divisions, Universal Music Enterprises (in the U.S.) and UM3 (outside the U.S.).

Universal Music Group is a unit of Vivendi Universal, a global media and communications company.

Koch Music is the European music operation of the Koch Group, founded 26 years ago by Franz Koch in Austria. Koch Music is a leading record and publishing company for German-language repertoire.