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Sony Corp considering Sony/ATV sale

By | Published on Thursday 8 October 2015


Sony Corp is considering selling off its half of music publishing giant Sony/ATV after triggering a clause in its contract with its co-owner, the Michael Jackson estate, which allows one party to buy the other out.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Sony told its moneylenders last month that the buy-out clause had been triggered, though so far all negotiations have been between the entertainment conglom and the Jackson estate. It’s far from certain that the talks will result in Sony selling its half of the business, and under the two shareholders’ agreement either side can counter offers to buy the other party’s share, and bid for the half they don’t own.

The music publisher has been valued at around $2 billion. Sony/ATV, which operates autonomously from the Sony Music record company, also controls EMI Music Publishing, although there are other shareholders in that part of the business and it’s not clear how all that would work if any Sony/ATV sale did go ahead.

Parent company Sony Corp has been flagging for a number of years now, mainly because of problems in its consumer electronics business, so a billion dollars would come in useful. And while bosses there have generally rejected past suggestions they sell off some of their US-based entertainment assets, when those Sony emails were leaked last year it was revealed some senior execs had been contemplating a possibly Sony/ATV sale.