U.S. record company Warner Music Group, the world's third-largest, announced Friday it will be acquired for $3.3 billion by Access Industries Holdings, the holding company of billionaire Len Blavatnik.

Access will assume Warner Music's $1.9 billion in debt and pay $8.25 in cash per share, a 34.4 percent premium over the group's average share price ($6.14) over the past six months, the companies said Friday in a joint statement.

Warner Music shares on the New York Stock Exchange were up around 2.66 percent to $8.08 per share around midday. Since the beginning of the year, when speculation began that the company may be sold, its share price has soared by 44.05 percent.

Nevertheless, the value of the company's stock, which will cease to be listed on the exchange once the transaction is completed, has plunged 72.41 percent over the past five years.

"We believe this transaction is an exceptional value-maximizing opportunity that serves the best interests of stockholders as well as the best interests of music fans, our recording artists and songwriters, and the wonderful people of this company," Warner Music Chairman and CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. said.

Bronfman said Access Industries will bring "a fresh entrepreneurial perspective and expertise in technology and media" to Warner Music.

Blavatnik, who already owns a 2 percent stake in the record company and was a member of its board of directors from 2004 to 2008, said he was "excited" to extend his "longstanding involvement with Warner Music."

"It is a great company with a strong heritage and home to many exceptional artists," he said.

Warner Music, whose artists include Green Day, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kid Rock, had begun a search for buyers amid a worldwide decline in record sales.