Simon Cowell has admitted he’s unhappy about One Direction’s Liam Paynes decision to sign a solo deal with a rival record company.  

Speaking to The Sun, the music mogul said "It is a bit annoying if I am honest with you –mainly because it is another label who has now got your artist who you worked with for so many years".

"But that is the music business, unfortunately. I don't think anyone else from the band will do that."

Earlier this month, Payne revealed via Twitter that he’d signed a deal with Capitol Records, rather than Cowell’s Syco label. Fellow One Direction bandmate Harry Styles, has reportedly signed his own multi-million dollar solo deal with Columbia Records, a close associate of Syco.

The X Factor creator went on to admit that he was unaware of Payne’s ambitions to start a solo career.

"We had spoken a lot – him and I – about what he wanted to do next," he added.

"My impression was that he wasn't in any hurry to make a record because he discussed this last year. He was more into songwriting.

"I was teasing him saying: 'If you come up with a great song, Liam, make sure it is for you and don't give it away. When you're ready, I am ready.'

"So I was a bit surprised. Of course there is a part of you that goes, 'Maybe we should have had the conversation.' That maybe is my fault but it has happened now."

Zayn Malik was the first member of One Direction to embark on a solo career, with the release of his debut album Mind of Mine back in March. The remaining members of the group are currently on an 18 month hiatus, which began at the end of 2015.