Business World

Thursday 16 August 2018

Sony in talks to buy EMI song catalogue

 

Adding EMI's extensive catalogue would solidify Sony's position as the largest music publisher, as paid streaming services proliferate and valuations for music copyrights soar.
Adding EMI's extensive catalogue would solidify Sony's position as the largest music publisher, as paid streaming services proliferate and valuations for music copyrights soar.

Lucas Shaw, Yuji Nakamura and Nabila Ahmed

Sony has held preliminary talks to acquire a majority stake in EMI Music Publishing, according to people with knowledge of the matter, as EMI's Abu Dhabi-based owner seeks to cash in on the booming market for streamed music.

Mubadala Investments has begun reaching out to potential suitors for the catalogue of more than two million songs, which includes hits from Beyonce and Carole King, said the people, who asked not to be identified.

The Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund has held talks with Sony and approached other possible buyers, including entertainment groups and potential financial bidders, the people said.

Adding EMI's extensive catalogue would solidify Sony's position as the largest music publisher, as paid streaming services proliferate and valuations for music copyrights soar.

The Tokyo-based company already owns almost 40pc of EMI, and operates the business.

Mubadala has signalled its intent to sell its majority holding, the people said, and plans to exercise an option that would force Sony to acquire its stake or trigger a sale of the entire company. While that process can't formally begin until the end of June, the people said, Mubadala is already reaching out to interested parties to gauge pricing.

Mubadala is seeking a valuation of at least $4bn (€3.2bn) for EMI, the people said, almost double what the Sony-led group, which also includes billionaire David Geffen, paid for the business six years ago. A sale would be the largest music-industry transaction since the last time EMI changed hands.

If the parties fail to reach an agreement, Sony risks losing the catalogue to one of its largest competitors. Billionaire Len Blavatnik, the owner of Warner Music Group, has expressed interest in EMI, two of the people said. Sony and Mubadala declined to comment on the talks.

Swedish company Kobalt Music Group raised $600m last year to spend on copyrights, and acquired Songs Music Publishing, the home of Lorde and the Weeknd.

Bloomberg

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