P. Diddy agreed Thursday to sell a 50 percent stake in Bad Boy Records to the Warner Music Group. The deal, reportedly valued at $30 million, would give the label joint control over the Bad Boy catalog, which includes three hit albums from Notorious B.I.G. and Diddy's solo albums, among others.
Diddy will continue to serve as the CEO of Bad Boy, whose roster includes new boy band B5 along with Mase, Carl Thomas and Mario Winans. Neither side would comment on the terms of the deal, according to a Reuters report.
The rapper/entrepreneur bought back full control of Bad Boy three years ago from Arista Records and in 2003 estimated that the label was worth $100 million. But Bad Boy's fortunes have flagged of late, with releases slowing to a trickle. Welcome Back, last year's heralded return of former platinum-selling rapper Mase — who gave up rapping in 1999 to join the ministry — fell flat. And a comeback album by New Edition has sold only 244,000 copies, according to SoundScan.
The promise of cash and marketing resources from Warner Bros. could boost Bad Boy's output to eight to 10 albums a year, though, with the first release under the new deal coming from Atlanta rap crew Boyz N Da Hood, followed by the debut from B5.
"There have been a lot of boutique record labels that come and go, and we're still here," Combs told the AP. "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."