The $70 million magic of ABBA: ABBA the $70 million group. By Mats Andersson

It took four years for them to meet their Waterloo in reverse.

It happened at Brighton in 1974, and ABBA went on to become a world name with the hit single, Waterloo.

Today ABBA is the most successful pop group in the world, a show packed worth more than $70 million.

Agnetha, Björn, Benny and Anni-Frid, and their manager Stig Anderson are no longer innocents writing and singing Honey, Honey.

They have grown out of that part. They have gone to the top, and at the top, it is Money, Money, Money!

ABBA the music machine has become ABBA the money machine. It has become big business.

ABBA is making money on a grand scale. Money is rolling in at an increasing rate, and a recent rumour suggests there are plans to plough some of it into one of the biggest department stores in Stockholm. A likely price is $20 million.

Million sellers

ABBA’s LP record, Arrival is a worldwide hit. It was issued late last year, and in five weeks, world sales amassed $23 million.

Before the Christmas rush even began, a total of 550,000 copies of Arrival had been sold in Sweden alone. Usually, Swedish artists are pleased with a sale of 15,000 records at home.

About once a week, big companies inquire if the ABBA group is for sale. Manager Stig Anderson has made it known that only serious offers in the region of $14 million for each member of the group are of interest. If that sort of offer is made, he can think of beginning negotiations.

The group’s turnover for 1977 is calculated at around $12 million.

Anderson has said he thinks ABBA can keep going for as long as members feel like it. The group is booked for all 1978, and an intense public relations drive has begun for ABBA in the United States. The USA and Japan are still blank spots on the map of countries conquered by ABBA.

The US accounts for half of all the records sold in the world. If ABBA can establish itself on the American market, then an annual turnover of $12 million will be a trifle.

Safe investments

What does ABBA do with all the money? Group members say they invest in sound projects. They have learnt from the example of Stig Anderson. Most of his time is taken up nowadays by channelling ABBA money into safe and profitable investments.

ABBA’s Swedish business is handled by three companies Harlekin AB is owned by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus; Sweden Music AB is owned by Stig Anderson; Polar International, a record company, is owned jointly by Benny, Björn and Stig. Those three companies and Union Songs – an affiliate company to Sweden Music – are managed mainly by Stig Anderson.

Stig is at present owner of two apartment houses in Stockholm, each bought for more than $230,000. He has also bought, at an undisclosed sum, the luxury flat in which he lives. His company Sweden Music owns a house bought for nearly $600,000 and rebuilt at a cost of nearly $500,000, the ABBA House, which is the group’s office and headquarters in Stockholm.

Benny and Anni-Frid own a house bought for $200,000 close to Stockholm. Björn and Agnetha own a $200,000 villa. Transcribed for ABBA World

Photo: ABBA wind up a triumphant concert at London’s Albert Hall at the end of their first British tour. A measure of the group’s immense popularity is given by the black market prices for tickets to the show – they went as high as £90.

New Zealand Woman’s Weekly · 20 June 1977 (Page 14)

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