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First round bids in for EMI Publishing catalogues on the block

By | Published on Friday 26 October 2012

EMI Music Publishing

BMG, Primary Wave and the G2 Investment Group are all first-round bidders for the EMI publishing catalogues that are on the block as part of the Sony-led acquisition of EMI Music Publishing, according to the New York Post.

As previously reported, in April this year the European Commission gave its approval to the Sony-led bid to buy the EMI music publishing company subject to the divestment of a small number of EMI’s publishing assets, namely the Virgin and Famous UK catalogues, which include songs by Tears For Fears, Culture Club, Bryan Ferry, Devo and Duffy.

Sony’s EMI Music Publishing acquisition subsequently went ahead in late June after getting US regulator approval, and conversations with up to twenty possible bidders for the Virgin/Famous catalogues began last month.

According to the Post, BMG, which lost out to Sony in the bidding for the EMI publishing business outright last year, has now submitted an offer for the two catalogues back on the block, as expected. As have US-based music company Primary Wave, which came into being through the acquisition of a stake in the Kurt Cobain catalogue in 2006, and New York-based finance firm G2 Investment Group.

The Post reckons offers have also been submitted by Toronto-based indie publisher Ole and Paris-based Because Music, and that further bidders may enter the race in the second round, which kicks off on Monday, including Saban Capital Group, Guggenheim Partners and Warner Music Group.

Specifics about individual deals are not known, of course, though sources have valued the catalogues between $130 million and $150 million. The sale is being overseen by lawyer John Branca, one of the executors of the Michael Jackson estate, which, of course, owns half of the Sony music publishing business Sony/ATV.

Because the bid for EMI Music Publishing involved other investors in addition to Sony and the Jackson Estate, technically the former EMI division remains a standalone entity, though in terms of day-to-day operations it has been merged with the Sony/ATV business.

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