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Carlyle Blasted by Elizabeth Warren Over Taylor Swift Songs

Jenny Surane

(Bloomberg) -- The private equity industry has once again drawn the ire of Senator Elizabeth Warren -- this time over its financing of a record label.

Carlyle Group LP helped finance celebrity manager Scooter Braun’s acquisition of Big Machine Label Group LLC, pop star Taylor Swift’s former record label, where she recorded her first six albums. Swift has claimed the label has blocked her efforts to buy back her music and from performing her biggest hits in public. Big Machine has disputed Swift’s version of events.

In a tweet last week, Swift appealed to the Washington-based buyout firm for help addressing the situation after failing to resolve the controversy privately. Warren, a Democratic candidate for president, responded on Saturday and said she has a plan to rein in private equity firms.

The Warren tweet follows an earlier one by U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat, who said that the private equity industry is holding Swift’s music “hostage” and also called for greater limits on the industry.

Carlyle has been involved with Braun since at least 2017, and helped finance his acquisition of Big Machine in June with an equity investment. The firm has no operational control of the label.

Warren also blasted private equity firms in a blog post in July, when she proposed overhauling the industry as part of her plan to regulate Wall Street. She proposed a number of changes, including holding the firms responsible for certain pension obligations of the companies they buy and limiting their ability to pay out dividends.

(Adds detail of Carlyle’s investment in penultimate paragraph.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Jenny Surane in New York at jsurane4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael J. Moore at mmoore55@bloomberg.net, Daniel Taub, Matthew G. Miller

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