Kobalt ups spending power to over $1bn via new $450m revolving credit facility, plus a $266.5m raise via asset Securitization

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Just four months ago, Kobalt announced a partnership with investment funds managed by Morgan Stanley Tactical Value to invest more than USD $700 million to acquire music copyrights over the next few years.

As part of its joint venture with Morgan Stanley, Kobalt will manage the creative, synch, licensing, administration, and investment services for these copyrights.

Now, Kobalt has executed two new transactions that it says, combined with the Morgan Stanley partnership, provide it “with more than $1 billion to continue to grow and execute on its strategic initiatives”.

First up, Kobalt has today (March 19) announced a new $450 million Revolving Credit Facility from a Truist Securities-led “syndicate”, which according to Kobalt will be used to “fully refinance existing indebtedness”. 

Kobalt CFO Catrin Drabble said in a press release: “This refinancing will fuel our growth initiatives and allow us to further fortify our position as an industry trailblazer.”

In addition, Kobalt has confirmed the raise of $266.5 million via its first-ever Asset-Backed Securitization (ABS) transaction, backed by music royalties from a catalog of more than 5,000 works from 66 writers.

According to a statement issued by the Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) on March 5, an independent third-party valuation firm previously determined a valuation of $410.0 million as of September 30, 2023 for this catalog using a “discounted cash flow method”.

KBRA’s report noted that the royalty payments from Kobalt’s ABS catalog are all derived from musical compositions and musical publishing rights. The catalog includes works by YoungBoy Never Broke Again, and Busta Rhymes, which KBRA said in its report “are among the largest in the Catalog by net publisher share”.

According to an article in Asset Securitization Report published last month, Kobalt’s ABS transaction will see it “issue one class A tranche, an A-2 piece rated A- from Kroll Bond Rating Agency, with an expected final maturity April 2064.”

Investment firm ATLAS SP Partners was the sole structuring agent and joint bookrunner with Truist on the ABS transaction.

“This refinancing will fuel our growth initiatives and allow us to further fortify our position as an industry trailblazer.”

Catrin Drabble, CFO 

Kobalt CFO Catrin Drabble said: “Along with the Francisco Partners transaction and Morgan Stanley joint venture, these transactions enable us to continue our investment into the business and our technology with far greater flexibility, simultaneously strengthening the best-in-class service we deliver to our songwriters and partners.

“Thanks to all of our partners for facilitating these transactions, recognizing the value of the portfolio and supporting Kobalt’s future vision.”

MBW noted in November that Kobalt’s Morgan Stanley deal represented a return to managing investment for outside capital for Kobalt.

The company’s previous investment management arm, Kobalt Capital, facilitated the sale of two music-owning funds in the past few years for a total of around $1.4 billion:

Since that October 2021 sale, Kobalt has used money from its own balance sheet to fund M&A activity in music.

In September 2022, Kobalt confirmed that it had been majority-acquired by private equity company Francisco Partners (FP).

As a result of that deal, FP gained a controlling stake in Kobalt that equates to around 90% of the music company.

Minority investors who own the remainder of Kobalt include Matt Pincus’s MUSIC, Dundee Partners, and Kobalt’s founder and Chairman, Willard Ahdritz.

Kobalt currently serves over 850,000 songs, representing songwriters including Roddy Ricch, Max Martin, FINNEAS, Karol G, Andrew Watt, Stevie Nicks, Phoebe Bridgers, The Lumineers, Gunna, Justin Quiles, The Foo Fighters, and Paul McCartney.

Kobalt also runs AMRA, its global digital music collection society “designed to maximize value for songwriters and publishers in today’s digital age”.Music Business Worldwide

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