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Universal Music has acquired a majority stake in Nigerian record label Mavin


March 4, 2024

A short month, but full of wins for African Sports and Entertainment, from AFCON, to the Grammys, the Super Bowl, the Berlinale Film Festival, the Annie Awards and even the Michelin restaurant guide.

But the biggest winners might be Mavin Records’ investors, who have arguably achieved the biggest exit in African entertainment history when Universal Music acquired their majority stake earlier this week

If you are not one of the 180,000 people 🤯 who read my viral story, you get a second chance below 👇


I spoke to Jeune Afrique (in French) and The Africa Report about the recent interest from large development banks (such as IFC, Afreximbank or Proparco) for the African Creative Industries.

Both articles are behind a paywall, but here’s an extract for you, readers of HUSTLE & FLOW:

🤔 “Why did these large institutions wait so long to support sectors which, according to IFC, currently represent $4.2 billion on the continent?

For Frenchwoman Marie Lora-Mungai, founder of the consulting company Restless Global and specialist in the Creative Industries in Africa, the relatively recent enthusiasm of investors is the product of two factors.

On the one hand, “over the last two or three years, the world has discovered great artists from the continent who have made it on their own and have proven that their activity can generate significant income”, explains the one who accompanies large development finance institutions such as IFC or Proparco, to better understand the Creative Industries and to imagine suitable financing mechanisms.

On the other hand, around 2013, the rebasing of the Nigerian GDP (from $270 to $510 billion) raised awareness that an industry like film, accounting for 1.3% of national wealth, was likely to provide a significant contribution to the economy.”

Development institutions have also become aware of the capacity of the Creative Industries to create numerous jobs, particularly for young people and women.

Click here to read the full article in English, and here for the French version.


🇬🇭 Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo has announced plans for the West African country to introduce a new tax incentives package for film productions.

Ghana is set to offer a 20% tax rebate for strategic film productions, alongside other supportive measures such as exemptions on import duties for film production equipment, port taxes and other cash levies. Local corporate entities that financially back the sector will also benefit from these incentives.

Over the past 20 years, tax incentives have become a popular and effective way for governments to attract lucrative foreign film shoots. 

🌍 Today, dozens of countries or territories (from obvious ones such Canada, France, Germany and the UK to less-obvious ones like Saudi Arabia, Malta, Trinidad or Fiji) compete to offer the most attractive packages and capture the interest of the world’s biggest film studios and producers.

For a country, the benefits of such schemes are many: direct forex inflows, capacity building for local film technicians, development of a local film servicing industry (equipment rental, catering, transportation, etc), country brand awareness and increased tourism. 

But African governments have been slow to seize the opportunity. Prior to Ghana’s announcement, only 3 other African nations – South Africa, Morocco and Mauritius – offered film incentives. 

💪🏿 The news is a big win for National Film Authority CEO Juliet Yaa Asantewa Asante, who has been pushing hard to establish Ghana as a regional and continental film hub since she took office 3 years ago.

🏈 Even without incentives, the NFA’s “Shoot in Ghana” campaign had already started garnering attention. Earlier in February, the NFL unveiled its Super Bowl spot ‘Born to Play’, which was shot in Ghana by renown Nigerian director Andrew Dosunmu and produced by Ghanaian production company TD Afrique Films (‘Beasts of No Nation’) led by Danny Damah and Tony Tagoe. 


🤔 Will Showmax maintain its lead on Netflix as the competition heats up on the African streaming market?

💡I shared my thoughts with dámiláre dòsùnmú for Rest of World:

“Showmax’s biggest advantage is parent company MultiChoice’s vast network: It runs a cable TV business and has been building TV channels across Africa since 1995, Marie Lora-Mungai, founder of consulting firm Restless Global, told Rest of World.

“MultiChoice’s level of commitment to building the African video-streaming business from the ground up is a lot deeper than the global players’ need for expansion,” Lora-Mungai said.

“The African market is essentially MultiChoice’s to lose … It has teams on the ground in most countries, constantly taking the pulse of what audiences want to see. In some places like Zambia, MultiChoice even single-handedly props up the entire audiovisual sector.”

[On the other hand] Lora-Mungai said Showmax needs to carefully navigate the risk of its partnership with Comcast not working out well in the long term.

“In practice, this type of global partnership can be tricky,” she said, adding that differences in work culture could lead to disagreements.

“Whether Comcast has fully grasped the complexities of doing business in Africa and the patience needed to overcome this market’s challenges remains to be seen.”


We’ve been waiting for it since it was announced in 2020: “Iwájú” is finally out on Disney+.

🌆 Created by Pan-African, British-based entertainment company Kugali Media and directed by Olufikayo Ziki Nelson Adeola, the highly anticipated series is set in a futuristic Lagos (“iwájú” means “the future” in Yoruba).

But not only is “Iwájú” the first Disney animated series set in Nigeria, it is also the Hollywood studio’s first game tie-in on the continent.

🍲 Developed by Nigeria-based Maliyo Games over just 14 months, “Disney Iwájú: Rising Chef” is a casual mobile game similar to “Cooking Madness” and “Cooking Fever”, but with jollof and pepper soup thrown in. It was released on Google Play and the Apple Store on the same day as the series.

“It’s Disney’s first time working with a studio in Africa, so we wanted to pick a project that was achievable with the time we had, because the goal was always to release this alongside the show,” said Maliyo’s founder Hugo Obi.

Maliyo Games was formed in 2012 but struggled to find the talent needed to scale up. In 2021, it partnered with Google to create GameUp Africa, an animation training program. The investment paid off: 3 out of the 4 engineers who developed “Rising Chef” are graduates from the program.

🧐 Besides the lack of both funding and trained talent, other challenges slowing the growth of African games are distribution and discovery.

African games sometimes struggle to get access to the Google and Apple Stores, leading to the development of African platforms such as Gara. In a context where 10,000 new games are released every year, it’s also extremely difficult for African games to break through the noise to get noticed.

The Disney collaboration will be a great case study in that regard.


🔥 This might be the biggest exit ever in the history of African entertainment: Universal Music has acquired a majority stake in Nigerian record label Mavin, founded by Don Jazzy and home of Afrobeats superstar Rema.

💵 Although the terms of the deal were not disclosed, Billboard previously reported a likely sales price of around $125 million, with the company being valued in the region of $150 million to $200 million.

Whatever the exact amount, this means a healthy return for Mavin’s previous majority investor, PE firm TPG Growth, which has now fully exited the business.

💡But what’s even more interesting is how Mavin got there:

In 2006, Nigerian music producer Don Jazzy launches Mo’ Hits Records with artist D’banj. However, Mo’ Hits is not successful and the label dissolves in 2012.

Undeterred, Don Jazzy immediately starts another label, Mavin records. He brings onboard a young brand and marketing exec called Tega Oghenejobo.

🧐 In 2017, Don Jazzy is approached by investor Bobby Pittman of Kupanda Capital. Bobby sees the opportunity in the growth of Afrobeats, but believes Mavin needs to strengthen its internal capacity and processes in order to capture it. 

In an unusual but inspired move, Kupanda joins as founding investor and takes a very hands-on approach, sending its own team members from the US to Lagos to help Don Jazzy structure his business. Quick learner Tega rises fast and becomes COO of the company.

🎰 In 2019, Kupanda Capital and PE mastodon TPG create the joint-venture Kupanda Holdings and make a big bet by investing $10 million in Mavin. The TPG partner leading the deal tells Don Jazzy and Tega: “I’m investing in you because you have failed.”

Don Jazzy and Tega get to work doing what they do best: signing and developing new talents. 

📉 In 2020, the pandemic hits and revenue from live concerts suddenly hits zero around the world. Kupanda Holdings puts more money in to allow Mavin to survive.

💥 In 2023, Mavin artist Rema breaks the internet with his hit song ‘Calm Down”, remixed with Selena Gomes. The song becomes the first track by an African artist to reach 1 billion streams on Spotify.

By now, Mavin has a solid roster of talents, which also includes Ayra Starr (most viewed music video by a female Nigerian artist on YouTube for “Rush”), Crayon, Ladipoe, Johnny Drille and others.

🤝 In 2024, after the customary 7 years investment period, TGP exits to Universal after a competitive bidding process.

As part of the deal, Don Jazzy and Tega will remain at the helm with Kupanda as strategic advisors, and they have no intention to calm down.

Tyla just showed the world that there’s more to African music than Afrobeats.

🏆 The 22-year-old South African sensation bagged the Grammys’ first ever “Best African Music Performance” award, beating not one but 5 seasoned Nigerian artists.

Davido, Burna Boy, Ayra Starr, Asake and Olamide all went home empty-handed.

After this unexpected turn of events, the silence from the Nigerian side has been deafening 🦗🦗🦗 Nigerians are not used to being humbled o.

Tyla’s rise to stardom has been meteoric to say the least.

🇿🇦 She was born and raised in the eastern parts of Joburg, into a Coloured family of Zulu, Indian, Mauritian and Irish descent.

At 17, she has her first local success with her debut single “Getting Late”. Two years later, at 19, she signs with Epic Records.

🌪 And then, in early 2023, things start to snowball.

In the span of just a few months, she places on the Billboard Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop chart, performs for the first time in public at Milan Fashion Week, opens for Chris Brown during his Under the Influence Tour, and releases a single with Nigerian singer Ayra Starr.

In May, she is selected by Spotify for RADAR Africa, the platform’s program dedicated to driving the discovery of emerging artists across the world.

🚀 In July, Tyla releases “Water”, the song that will change her life. After a video taken at the Giants of Africa festival in Kigali spuns a viral dance challenge on TikTok, the song enters the top 10 in 16 countries including the United Kingdom and United States. Tyla becomes the youngest-ever South African and the first South African soloist in 55 years to enter the US Billboard Hot 100.

Tyla is invited to appear on TV shows in Europe and the US, including The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and The Voice.

📈 In parallel, Spotify continues to push Tyla, placing “Water” on more than 200 of the platform’s editorial and algorithmic playlists, including some of the most popular ones. Fans add the song to 8 million of their own playlists.

In October 2023, “Water” reaches 100M streams. It has now over 300M. 

In December, Tyla finds herself at the center of her first controversy as a public figure, when a TikTok video in which she refers to herself as Colored shocks some American fans. Americans see the word as a slur, while in South Africa, it is a distinct identity that is officially recognised.

😎 Tyla survives this rite of passage with grace, and goes on to win her Grammy.


🇨🇮 🎉 Once in a while, the stars align to turn the collective efforts of many into not only a great moment, but also possibly a historic one. This year, the Elephants, Ivory Coast, and CAF president Patrice Motsepe delivered an exceptional AFCON.

So what went right?

💼 Professional, business-focused leadership from South African billionaire Patrice Motsepe, who took over the role of CAF president in 2021.

🏗 Solid Investment by Ivory Coast, on and off the pitch. The country reportedly spent as much as $1.5 billion on hosting the tournament, including the construction of 4 new stadiums. 

💵 Strong sponsors. This year’s AFCON had 17 commercial partners including title sponsors TotalEnergies, 1xBet, Orange and Unilever. My guess is that they’ll be very happy with their ROI. 

⚽️ The teams came prepared. From big football countries such as Ivory Coast and Nigeria to underdogs like Cape Verde and Equatorial Guinea, AFCON came with the right type of surprises and upsets that make a great tournament.

😎 Star power: Some of the biggest names in global football, such as Mohammed Salah, Sadio Mane, Victor Osimhen and Andre Onana, were on the pitch, while icons like Didier Drogba, Emmanuel Adebayor and Samuel Eto’o were cheering in the bleachers.

📺 A wide media reach. Despite the initial drama over Pay TV rights, AFCON ended up being broadcast across 180 countries (up from 157 in 2022) on Sky, Canal+, beIN Sport, BBC and MultiChoice as well as 45 Free-to-Air channels and on CAF’s Youtube page. And the audience turned up: nearly 2 billion people watched the competition, according to Patrice Motsepe.

🤳🏿 The power of social media was unleashed. Give African content creators a big cultural moment, and they will turn it into viral gold. Even the official CAF accounts outperformed expectations, gaining a whopping 3.3M followers on Tiktok and 1.3M on Instagram.

🌍 An enthusiastic involvement from the African diaspora, including in the US and UK, which turned AFCON from an African into a global event.

⚠️ Of course, there are areas of improvement, such as accessibility for fans (ticketing, unaffordable intra-African plane tickets), and business opportunities that remain largely untapped, in particular streaming rights and entertainment/lifestyle tie-ins.

But, as Pulse’s James Torvaney said, AFCON feels like the platform on which African sports can finally, properly be built. 

All eyes will be on Morocco, host of the next edition, scheduled for 2025.


🎬 French-Senegalese filmmaker Mati Diop won the top prize at the Berlinale International Film Festival for her film ‘Dahomey’, a docu-fictional essay on the first major return of looted treasures from Europe to Africa. She received the Golden Bear for best film from the hands of Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o, the first Black person and first African to chair the Berlinale Jury.

🇰🇪 Animator Ng’endo Mukii is the first Kenyan to win an Annie award, the most prestigious prize in animation, for her  film “Enkai”. “Enkai” is one of the 10 short films that comprise the groundbreaking African sci-fi anthology 🔥“Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire” produced by South African studio Triggerfish for Disney+.

👩🏿‍🍳 Nigerian Adejoké Bakare, founder and head chef of Chishuru in London, becomes UK’s first black female Michelin-starred chef.

⚽️ Twenty-three year-old Zambia forward Racheal Kundananji becomes the most expensive female footballer in a $788,000 transfer from Spanish club Madrid CFF to US side Bay FC.