From Rod Stewart’s $100m catalog sale to a takeover bid for Believe… 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 maximize their income and reduce their touring costs.

This week began with big news out of France: Believe founder and CEO Denis Ladegaillerie, along with TCV and Swedish private equity firm EQT are making a bid worth EUR €1.523 billion (USD $1.64 billion) to take Believe private.

The deal could be complete by this summer.

Elsewhere, Spotify‘s annual report filed with the SEC shows that three major recording companies (Universal, Sony, and Warner) plus indie label representative Merlin saw their joint market share on Spotify fall below the 75% mark for the first time.

Meanwhile, news from Sony and Universal this week strengthened the observation that Dubai is becoming a major music industry hub.

Universal confirmed that it has inked a strategic partnership with Dubai Global Music City (DGMC) to build what is called “the Middle East’s first-ever Music City“. And Sony Music Publishing announced it’s expanding its MENA presence with the opening of a new office in Dubai, to be headed by newly-appointed Managing Director Dounia Chaaban.

On Wenesday (February 14), Sony Corp released its financial results for calendar Q4 2023, showing that its operations across recorded music and music publishing brought in USD $2.52 billion in the quarter, up 14.0% YoY.

Finally, Irving Azoff‘s Iconic Artists Group has acquired Rod Stewart‘s share of the legendary artist’s publishing catalog and recorded music, for a reported USD $100 million. Iconic also raised $1 billion for music acquisitions, through debt financing and a partnership with HPS Investment Partners.

Here’s what happened this week…

1) EQT, Denis Ladegaillerie, and TCV launch $1.64 billion takeover bid for Believe

Will Believe be privately owned by the summer?

That’s the hope of a new consortium, which on February 12 announced a takeover bid worth EUR €1.523 billion (USD $1.64 billion) for 100% of the company’s shares.

The consortium brings together three parties: Existing Believe shareholders TCV and Denis Ladegaillerie (Believe’s founder, Chairman & CEO), plus EQT – the Swedish private equity firm that has previously invested in music/entertainment companies such as Epidemic Sound and United Talent Agency.

Together, Ladegaillerie plus the EQT X fund and funds managed by TCV have proposed a private takeover of Believe valued at €15 per share, representing a premium of +21% on Believe’s closing share price on the Paris Euronext on Friday (February 9).

The consortium has already secured agreements to acquire 71.92% of Believe from existing shareholders…

2) The major record companies (and Merlin) saw their Spotify market share fall again in 2023. Yet even before ‘artist-centric’ changes, this decline started slowing.

There’s an interesting shift taking place in the power dynamic between ‘major’ music rightsholders and DIY aggregators on the world’s largest subscription music streaming service, Spotify.

According to Spotify’s annual report for 2023, filed with SEC, the joint market share of music represented by the three major record companies (Universal, Sony, Warner), plus independent label licensing representative Merlin, fell below three-quarters (74%) on Spotify for the first time in 2023.

Conversely, the global market share of recordings uploaded by DIY aggregators and indie labels with direct Spotify deals rose to an all-time high of 26% in the same year.

This means that UMG, WMG, SME, and Merlin’s joint market share on Spotify fell for the sixth consecutive year in 2023.

In 2022, UMG, WMG, SME, and Merlin’s joint market share was 75%. Back in 2017, it was 87%

Dounia Chaaban Sony Music Publishing

Sony Music Publishing is expanding its presence in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) with the launch of a new office in Dubai, which will be led by newly-appointed Managing Director Dounia Chaaban.

SMP, the world’s largest music publisher, is expanding into MENA at a time of considerable growth for the region’s music business.

According to IFPI’s latest Global Music Report, the MENA region’s recorded music market grew 23.8% YoY in 2022 (the third-fastest globally that year), and represented the highest share for streaming of any region globally, at 95.5%.

The MENA region was also the fastest-growing music region in the world, in percentage terms, in 2021, growing by 35% YoY, according to IFPI.

On February 12, Universal Music Group signaled its own vote of confidence in the region via a strategic partnership with a UAE-based entity called DGMC (Dubai Global Music City) to build what they describe as “the Middle East’s first-ever Music City”…

4) Sony generated $2.52bn from recorded music and publishing in calendar Q4 2023, up 14% YoY

Sony Music Group delivered strong double-digit growth in the final quarter of 2023.

Sony’s global music rights operation – across recorded music and music publishing – generated USD $2.52 billion in the three months to end of December.

That’s according to MBW’s calculations based on Sony Group Corp’s calendar Q4 2023 (fiscal Q3 2023) results, as announced by the Japanese firm on February 14.

The $2.52 billion figure was up 14.0% YoY (vs. calendar Q4 2022) at US dollar-converted constant currency.

In monetary terms, Sony’s overall music rights operation (recorded music plus music publishing) generated approximately $309 million more in calendar Q4 2023 than in the prior-year quarter…

5) Rod Stewart sells catalog to Iconic Artists Group for around $100m; company raises $1bn to buy more music rights

Irving Azoff’s Iconic Artists Group has secured a strategic investment from HPS Investment Partners (HPS), an investment firm with $107 billion in assets under management.

The investment from HPS, together with senior debt financing from third parties, provides Iconic with access to $1 billion of capital.

Additionally, Iconic has also finalized what it calls a wide-ranging cross-media partnership with legendary artist Rod Stewart to “acquire, develop, and expand his six-decade musical legacy to new generations of fans”.

Stewart is a two-time inductee into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and one of music’s best-selling artists. Iconic says the “landmark arrangement encompasses Stewart’s songs spanning his monumental solo career, as well as tenure in two iconic groups, the Faces and Jeff Beck Group”.

Citing people familiar with the matter, The Wall Street Journal reports that Stewart sold his interests in his ‘publishing catalog and recorded music, as well as some name and likeness rights’ for around $100 million

MBW’s Weekly 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.Music Business Worldwide

Related Posts