Hipgnosis’s Merck Mercuriadis spends $ 322 million on classical songs


Hipgnosis Songs Fund has just closed its biggest deal to date.

UK-listed Hipgnosis confirmed today (November 2) that it has acquired over 33,000 songs / song clippings from Kobalt Music Copyrights, for a total amount of $ 322.9 million. This is the biggest full-featured acquisition in music publishing since Concord acquired Imagem for more than $ 550 million in the summer of 2017, although the deal was for an entire music company rather than a catalog. copyright.

Hipgnosis’s deal with Kobalt is bigger than more recent giant buyouts in music publishing, including Round Hill Music’s acquisition of Carlin Music for $ 245 million in early 2018.

It is obviously important to determine precisely what is in the acquisition of Kobalt. Kobalt Capital Ltd. operates separately from Kobalt Music Group Ltd., the home of Kobalt Music Publishing, Kobalt Neighboring Rights and AWAL. Kobalt Capital, in turn, manages the acquisition of copyright on behalf of different funds, each of these funds being backed by institutional investors.

Hipgnosis acquired the portfolio owned by Kobalt Capital’s first fund, launched in 2011. It includes 42 catalogs written by over 1,500 songwriters across a wide range of genres.

This portfolio generated $ 18 million in 2019, up 6% year on year. Hipgnosis confirmed that the $ 322.9 million he paid represents a mixed acquisition value of 18.3 times the catalog’s historical annual revenue.

The deal includes catalogs from successful writers such as Lindsey Buckingham, Steve Winwood, B-52s, 50 Cent, Savan Kotecha, Skrillex, Nelly, Bonnie McKee, George Benson, Christina Perri and Walter Afanasieff (including the cut by Afanasieff on Mariah Carey All I want for Christmas is you which broke Spotify’s all-time record for 24-hour global games during the holiday season last year).

The portfolio also includes 18,000 songs from the Nettwerk Music Publishing Catalog, which Kobalt Capital acquired in 2016. (For clarification: the Hipgnosis deal does not include the SONGS Publishing Catalog, which Kobalt Capital acquired for around 160 million funds, through which he raised $ 600 million.)

The list of successes covered by the first catalog of the Kobalt Capital fund, which is now owned by Hipgnosis, includes:

  • “Go Your Own Way” and “The Chain” by Fleetwood Mac
  • “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and “One Sweet Day” (with Boyz II Men) by Mariah Carey
  • “Bailando” and “Hero” by Enrique Iglesias
  • “Superior Love” by Steve Winwood
  • Katy Perry’s “Roar” and “Teenage Dream”
  • “Gimme Some Lovin ‘” by Spencer Davis
  • “I can’t find the way back” by Blind Faith
  • “Never Give Up on a Good Thing” by George Benson
  • “Bad to the bone” by George Thorogood
  • Beyoncé’s “Halo”
  • B-52 “Love Shack”
  • “In Da Club” by 50 Cent
  • “Sorry” by Justin Bieber
  • “Don’t worry, my child” by Swedish House Mafia
  • “Chaud à Herre” by Nelly
  • “Sugar” by Maroon 5
  • “Let It Go” by Demi Lovato (from Disney’s Frozen soundtrack)

Following the acquisition, the Hipgnosis Songs Fund portfolio comprises 117 catalogs and 57,000 songs. The company claims its post-Kobalt catalog has an aggregate acquisition value of £ 1.18 billion (around $ 1.5 billion).

Merck Mercuriadis, founder of Hipgnosis Songs Fund Ltd. and The Family (Music) Ltd., said, “Hipgnosis has had a special relationship with Kobalt Music since its inception, so it is only natural that we make a deal like this for Kobalt. Capital’s inaugural fund. Willard, Johan and Laurent have curated a wonderful portfolio of proven songs that is incomparable with almost anything other than the Hipgnosis song catalog, which he complements beautifully. They are both small catalogs with songs of great cultural significance and an incredibly high degree of success among the most important songwriters and artists in the rich history of music.

“I am incredibly proud to welcome iconic songs from Steve Winwood, Lindsey Buckingham, Bonnie McKee, Walter Afanasieff, George Benson, Enrique Iglesias, the B-52s, 50 Cent, Christina Perri, George Thorogood, Skrillex, Evan Bogart, J -Kash, Dierks Bentley, Savan Kotecha, LunchMoney Lewis, Eman Kyriakou, John Rich, Simon Neil / Biffy Clyro, Lateral, Mac Powell / Third Day, Mark Batson, David Gray, Tim James and Antonina Armato / Rock Mafia, Stefan Johnson, and so many other amazing songwriters in the Hipgnosis family. They’ve written iconic songs for Fleetwood Mac, Steve Winwood, Traffic, Blind Faith, Mariah Carey, Eminem, George Benson, the B-52s, 50 Cent, Katy Perry , Beyoncé, One Direction, Big & Rich, Maroon 5, Dierks Bentley, and many more.

“These special songs that have achieved extraordinary success have a lot more joy to bring to the world, and we look forward to working with these phenomenal creators to take their songs to new heights while protecting their legacy. Thanks to Willard, Johan and Laurent, and we look forward to working with Kobalt Music as administrator on these important works. “

Willard Ahdritz, Founder and Chairman of Kobalt and Chief Investment Officer of Kobalt Capital Ltd., said: “When we launched KCL in 2010, it was the world’s first regulated music royalty fund, providing clients with our unique service. transparent and providing them with comfort. that we could provide a long term commitment to administer their works if they wanted to sell their copyright.

“Today, I am happy to say that we have kept our promises to our clients and investors. The KCL advisory board has agreed to sell our first fund to Hipgnosis. The decision to sell to Merck and Hipgnosis was an easy one as we know them so well, and the copyrights will be well taken care of under a long term administration agreement with Kobalt Music Group.

Laurent Hubert, CEO of Kobalt Music Group, said: “Since 2018 Hipgnosis has been a client, and as Merck continues to develop its catalog of songs, one thing will remain constant: Kobalt will continue to deliver the best in its class. publication administration services.

Johan Ahlstrom, CEO of Kobalt Capital Ltd., said: “We are delighted to sell this selected portfolio to Hipgnosis and provide our clients with an excellent return on their investment in music.

“As the industry continues to grow, KCL will continue to be active in acquisitions and advising our funds for our clients and investors. “

This article originally appeared on Music Business Worldwide.

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