Sanctuary Records, which was named after a song by its first signing Iron Maiden, has been bought by German record label BMG in a deal worth £40 million ($61.8 million).
It has been home to some of metal's best known bands, including Black Sabbath, Kiss, Megadeth and Queensryche, among other historic rock acts like Neil Young.
Sanctuary was the largest independent music management company in the world, and one of the biggest indie labels, until it was bought by Universal in 2007. The label was formed in 1979 when its founders discovered Iron Maiden in a London pub, and continued to sign artists with long-term appeal rather than those with short-term appeal.
Now Sanctuary is being sold on to BMG because regulators want Universal to downsize after buying EMI last year, which made it hold a disproportionate amount of power in the music business.
BMG is making a push to be a dominant force in the music business, and recently bought the Mute Records catalogue from Universal too.
Hartwig Masuch, chief executive of BMG, said (via The Guardian): "We have made no secret of our ambition to create a new force in the music industry focused on delivering service and revenue to artists."
He added: "We believe this deal will be good news for those artists, good news for our partners, particularly in the independent sector, and good news for the music industry as a whole."