Advent-Morro invests $2 million in Fania Records catalog
Edition: December 3, 2009 | Volume: 37 | No:48

José L. Carmona / josec@caribbeanbusinesspr.com

Local venture-capital firm Advent-Morro Equity Partners has made a $2 million investment in Código Entertainment, the company that recently acquired the famed salsa label Fania Records and the West Side Latino tropical music catalog.

Both catalogs have deep roots in Puerto Rico and include many of the island’s top talents such as Ismael Rivera, Tito Rodríguez, Héctor Lavoe, Cheo Feliciano, Ismael Miranda and La Sonora Ponceña.

The combined catalogs include more than 3,000 albums that span 50 years of Latin music. In addition to the above artists, the catalog also represents many other top artists in the salsa genre including Tito Puente, La Lupe, Celia Cruz, Ray Barretto, Rubén Blades and Willie Colón.

Advent-Morro made the investment alongside Signal Equity Partners of New York. The two venture firms have partnered in the past, most recently on a joint investment in Centennial Communications of Puerto Rico, which was recently acquired by AT&T.

“The ability to invest in such an important cultural music catalog for Puerto Rico, longside the increasing growth and interest in salsa music and dancing worldwide, provides a unique opportunity for Advent-Morro to leverage its local presence and Advent International’s worldwide contacts,” Advent-Morro President Cyril Meduña told CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. “We are very proud of being able to successfully complete this investment and play a role in promoting Puerto Rico’s culture and music worldwide.”

“Código is the largest independent Latin tropical music catalog in the world,” noted Código CEO Stuart Livingston. “We plan to use this platform to seek out other catalogs in this genre and hopefully continue to grow the worldwide Fania music brand.”

Meduña said Advent-Morro’s heightened interest in the music-catalog business comes from what it believes to be the right inflection point where there is less piracy and a clear revenue model of music distribution in the digital world.

“We are confident the team assembled by Livingston, along with our capital and experience in growing companies, will help it quickly become a world leader in this industry,” the Advent Morro founder & president added.

The first artist featured under the Fania brand after being acquired by Código is the late famous Puerto Rican singer and bandleader Tito Rodríguez. Código announced last week the launch of “El Inolvidable: A Man & His Music,” a remastered production and retrospective of Rodríguez’s work.

Fania Records, often called the Latin Motown, was a New York-based record label founded by Dominican-born composer and bandleader Johnny Pacheco and Italian-American lawyer Jerry Masucci in 1964. The label took its name from an old Cuban song by singer Reinaldo Bolaño.

Best known for its promotion of salsa music, Fania Records started out as a small venture, but gained popularity after the success of its first official record, Pacheco’s “Cañonazo,” leading to the expansion of its talent base.

Fania was responsible for launching the careers of many salsa megastars, among them Celia Cruz, Larry Harlow, Ray Barretto, Willie Colón, Héctor Lavoe, Eddie Palmieri, Ralfi Pagán, Luis “Perico” Ortíz and Bobby Valentín.

Masucci eventually became sole owner of Fania Records and the numerous other labels and umbrella labels in South America that he acquired and created. He died in Buenos Aires in 1997.

Masucci eventually became sole owner of Fania Records and the numerous other labels and umbrella labels in South America that he acquired and created. He died in Buenos Aires in 1997.

Masucci eventually became sole owner of Fania Records and the numerous other labels and umbrella labels in South America that he acquired and created. He died in Buenos Aires in 1997.

The venture-capital firm’s portfolio includes investment positions in firms such as Abaco Mobile, Puerto Rico ASC Holdings Inc., Integration Technologies, Aqua Venture Holdings / Seven Seas Water, Viu Media, IMC Caribe Inc., El Convento Hotel, Patheon Inc., ICPR Junior College, AMG Radiology Inc., Datek Inc., MCS Medical Card Systems Inc. and Trexel Inc.