Madonna Strengthens Hold On Maverick, Re-Inks Deal With Warner Bros.

As the recording industry begins to recover from the merger of the Universal Music Group and Polygram Records, Madonna is already making maneuvers and securing deals to strengthen Maverick Records, the label she co-founded back in 1992.

Madonna has reached an agreement to buy out Maverick co-founder and current CEO Freddy DeMann for $20 million, according to a report in "Variety." As part of the deal, DeMann has sold his 20 percent ownership stake in the label, whose current roster includes Alanis Morissette, Prodigy and the Deftones, among others.

In related news, Maverick Records and Warner Bros. Records have renewed their joint venture agreement, with Warner tendering long-term contracts to Madonna, Maverick's A&R chief Guy Oseary and label general manager Ray Dashev.

DeMann's decision to step down is being viewed as a victory for Oseary, the man behind the label's signing of Morissette, as he had threatened to leave in recent months. DeMann will now take a consulting

position at the Warner Music Group, the parent company of Warner Bros. Records.

The internal jockeying is expected to help re-start several stalled projects at Maverick, including most of the label's pending albums, production of which had been put on hold, pending the re-organization.