From Hipgnosis raising $210m to Warner spending $100m: It’s MBW’s Weekly Round-Up

Welcome to Music Business Worldwide’s weekly round-up – where we make sure you caught the five biggest stories to hit our headlines over the past seven days. MBW’s round-up is supported by Centtrip, which helps over 500 of the world’s best-selling artists maximise their income and reduce their touring costs.

Which big-money music catalog will Hipgnosis Songs Fund boss Merck Mercuriadis add next to his company’s $2.2 billion-valued portfolio?

The ever-reliable (ahem) Daily Mail rumored this week that Mercuriadis has been in conversations with Noel Gallagher about buying up the Oasis writer’s publishing rights.

Gallagher, meanwhile, told the Daily Mirror his song rights will all come back to him by 2025, that he’s happy to flog them for £200 million, and that – rather than give this cash to his children – he’s going to use it to buy a super-yacht and a Learjet and, in his own words, “f*****g have it”.

A bit of silliness in a relatively quiet week for the music business? Sure.

Either way, Hipgnosis has revealed it’s targeting a new raise of £150 million ($210m) via a fresh share issue on the stock market. It’s also told investors it intends to up its credit facility to make its war chest even larger.

Hipgnosis is doing so not only to buy beautiful songs, but to compete in an increasingly frenzied marketplace.

Example: David Guetta this week sold his recorded music catalog to Warner Music Group for more than $100 million. The French DJ was the eighth most popular artist globally on Spotify when the WMG announcement was made.

As MBW pointed out, the Guetta news suggests that the Frenchman was able to recapture ownership of his masters from his prior record deal (with EMI/Parlophone) around 10 years after they were first released.

Will more lucrative recorded music rights from the past 15 years now start hitting the M&A market for similar reasons? Watch this space.

Elsewhere this week, Island Records announced new leadership in New York, as the UMG company’s former leader, Darcus Beese, joined Warner Music – where he’ll be launching a new JV label.

Read on to catch up on MBW’s biggest stories from the past five days…

1) Hipgnosis is raising another $210 million on the London Stock Exchange

Hipgnosis Songs Fund is raising more cash, via the placing of a new tranche of shares on the London Stock Exchange.

The company announced this week that it is targeting a raise of approximately GBP £150 million (USD $210 million) via the placing of 123.97 million ordinary shares at an issue price of £1.21 per share.

Hipgnosis founder and CEO, Merck Mercuriadis said: “This raise gives our public markets investors, historic and new, the only chance for the next 12 months to get access to Hipgnosis’ existing portfolio as well as a pipeline comprising some of the most important and successful songs of all time, at valuations that are highly attractive considering the continued explosive growth of streaming that will magnify future revenues considerably.”

2) Warner just spent over $100m on David Guetta’s recordings catalog

The music catalog acquisition game continues to hot up – with the major music rightsholders getting stuck in.

This week it was Warner Music Group‘s turn to make a splash. WMG has confirmed that it has acquired the entire recordings catalog of French DJ/producer superstar David Guetta. A deal for future recordings has also been agreed.

The Financial Times reports that the Guetta deal cost Warner more than $100 million. MBW has spoken to industry sources close to the deal who’ve confirmed that figure, but also told us the price was lower than $150 million.

3) Imran Majid and Justin Eshak named co-CEOs of Island Records

Imran Majid and Justin Eshak have been appointed co-CEOs of Island Records, home to artists such as Shawn Mendes, Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas, Sean Paul and Skip Marley.

Described by Universal Music Group as “one of music’s most dynamic and successful artist-development teams,” Eshak and Majid will join Island from Sony Music‘s Columbia Recordswhere they have held the position of Co-Heads of A&R since 2018.

The duo’s appointment at Island, effective January 1, 2022, marks a return to UMG for Majid and Eshak, who met at Republic Records in 2004 where they worked as A&R executives.

4) Darcus Beese is joining Warner Music UK

Last month, MBW told you – after sources told us – that Darcus Beese OBE was about to launch a UK-based joint-venture label with a major record company that wasn’t Universal Music.

Now we know he’s joining Warner Music UK… and, as predicted, launching a JV label with the major. Warner says that Beese will share more details on the new label in the coming months.

In addition to that JV label, Beese will be taking up the role of EVP, Warner Music UK from July 1.

5) DEAG and Kilimanjaro buy 90% stake in UK Live Ltd

Germany’s DEAG, via its UK-based subsidiary Kilimanjaro, has acquired 90% of the shares in British promoter and event organizer UK Live Ltd.

The acquisition adds to DEAG’s UK portfolio of live companies, which also include ticketing outlet Gigantic Holdings (acquired in 2019), plus promoter the Flying Music Group (acquired in 2017) and Scotland’s Belladrum Festival (acquired in 2018).

The co-founders and Managing Directors of UK Live, Nick Billinghurst and Matt Smith, will stay on board as shareholders. DEAG says the duo will “continue to manage the company in the long term”.Music Business Worldwide