The organization was reported to have acquired a 1% shareholding in Spotify back in 2009 as part of the platform’s initial run of rightsholder deals, but this original stake will have been diluted over the past decade by further external investment in the company.
Confirming the news of the equity sell-off to Music Week today, Merlin CEO Charles Caldas said: “Merlin is an organisation that exists solely to maximise the value of our members’ rights and keeps only the monies that it needs to operate.
“It is outside of Merlin’s remit to hold a long-term equity position in a publicly-listed company where there is a liquid and transparent market for that equity. We therefore worked quickly to liquidate our interest in Spotify and have passed the proceeds to our eligible members.”
Merlin did not disclose the amount of money it received from the sale of its stake in Spotify, but MBW estimates it will be significantly higher than $100m.
“We worked quickly to liquidate our interest in Spotify and have passed the proceeds to our eligible members.”
Charles Caldas, Merlin (pictured)
The not-for-profit organization, based in the Netherlands, will have paid out the entire sum on to its 800+ members – although obviously who got what is sure to be a matter of hot debate.
“Merlin has a long-standing set of policies designed to ensure that the monies realised from a sale such as this (and indeed all our activities) are distributed equitably amongst eligible members,” added Caldas.
“Nearly a decade’s worth of usage data from Spotify is currently being processed and will allow us to provide a track-level apportionment to accompany those payments.”
The announcement of Merlin’s Spotify stock sale comes a fortnight after MBW revealed that Sony had banked around $750m by selling 50% of its shareholding.
Last week, Warner announced that it had sold 75% of its Spotify shares, to the tune of approximately $400m.Music Business Worldwide