VP Records of Jamaica-Queens, New York and Greensleeves Records of London, U.K. have announced a merger deal in which VP would purchase the Greensleeves Records and Publishing from its holding company, Zest Group. Founded in 1977, Greensleeves’ extensive catalog includes titles by Yellowman, Wailing Souls, Shaggy, Shabba Ranks, JC Lodge, and Michael Prophet.

In a press announcement today, Chris Chin and Randy Chin, respectively Chief Executive Officer and President of VP Records, commented, “Although Greensleeves has historically been our competitor, we have always had the utmost respect for what Greensleeves stood for. The label and its founders had a long-term commitment to reggae music, and no one is better positioned than VP Records to understand the need to respect this legacy. We will ensure that Greensleeves remains alive as a brand synonymous with excellence in reggae and dancehall music.”

VP and Greensleeves actually have similar origins, with both labels originating from small record stores in the mid-1970s in Kingston and London, respectively. Greensleeves celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2000, and its publishing wing handles some 12,000 songs. According to YardFlex.com, Greensleeves was run as a close partnership between Chris Cracknell, who oversaw the A&R policy, and Chris Sedgwick, who looked after the business side of the company. Greensleeves was sold to public company Zest Group, and in March 2006, Chris Cracknell agreed to a one-year contract at the time of sale to ensure a smooth handover.

Zest’s Chief Executive Steve Weltman says, “The combination of Greensleeves and VP Records will ensure the future of reggae music around the world. VP Records is committed to preserving the legacy of the Greensleeves label that was begun by its founders Chris Sedgwick and Chris Cracknell in 1977.”

Shaggy (left) and Assassin currently have releases on Greensleeves and VP, respectively.