Mercury Records is a subsidiary of Universal Music Group, and was founded in Chicago, Illinois in 1945 by Irving Green, Berle Adams and Arthur Talmadge.
In 1961 the Dutch company Philips Records, having lost its distribution deal with Columbia Records outside North America, signed an exchange agreement with Mercury, and Philips subsequently bought Mercury and its subsidiary labels to expand its US base. In 1962 Philips merged its record operations with Deutsche Grammophon to become PolyGram in 1972.
Under PolyGram, Mercury absorbed Casablanca Records.
In 1998, PolyGram was bought by Seagram, which then absorbed the company into the MCA Records family of labels in early 1999, the merger of which created the Universal Music Group. Under the reorganization, Mercury Records was folded into the newly formed Island Def Jam Music Group. Mercury's pop roster was predominantly taken over by Island Records, while its urban found a new home at Def Jam Recordings. Mercury's former country unit became Mercury Nashville Records and is still active as an imprint of Universal Music Group. Mercury also continues to operate as a fully functional label in the UK.
In 2008, Mercury Records was relaunched as a division of the Island Def Jam Music Group, which appointed record executive David Massey as the President and CEO of the new venture.
I feel it makes sense when you announce the launch of Mercury Classics, to give the whole story. I seem to remeber that Mercury issued some kine of classics for pleasure as well. I might even still have some vinyl in my collection. What is new????