Business Frame Weekly – Queen close to record $1.2 BILLION sale of music catalog / Universal Music Group to acquire stake in Chord Music Partners

Business Frame Weekly – Queen close to record $1.2 BILLION sale of music catalog / Universal Music Group to acquire stake in Chord Music Partners

Queen close to record $1.2 BILLION sale of music catalog

Ntwrk buys Complex with UMG as investor and strategic partner

Universal Music Group to acquire stake in Chord Music Partners

In this newsletter:

February 27, 2024

UMG to acquire majority stake in Nigerian music company Mavin Global

Universal Music Group is to acquire a majority investment in Mavin Global. The deal remains subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close by the end of Q3 2024. The Lagos, Nigeria-based label is behind many of the continent’s Afrobeats artists. Founded in 2012 by artist, producer, music executive and entrepreneur Michael Collins Ajereh (aka Don Jazzy), Mavin has played a key role in breaking Afrobeats artists within Africa, and beyond. The multi-award-winning label has enjoyed rapid growth, alongside commercial success. In the inaugural week of the US Afrobeats Songs Chart in 2022, Mavin artist Rema’s Calm Down featuring Selena Gomez was No.1. The song has been a streaming smash in the UK (in partnership with Virgin) and Rema is performing at the BRITs this weekend. Mavin is home to artists including Ayra Starr, Ladipoe, Johnny Drille, Crayon, Magixx, Bayanni, Boyspyce, DJ Big N, Lifesize Teddy and Rema. Calm Down has gone on to become the biggest Afrobeats song of all time, the most viewed video of all time by an African artist on YouTube, and the first African artist-led track to surpass one billion Spotify streams.

Ntwrk buys Complex with UMG as investor and strategic partner

It’s another week of deals for Universal Music Group. Fresh from acquiring a $240m stake in music-rights buyer Chord Music Partners, UMG revealed its role in another nine-figure acquisition yesterday. The deal sees online-shopping firm Ntwrk buying youth-culture brand Complex for $108.6m from its previous owner BuzzFeed. This, barely three years after BuzzFeed bought Complex for $294m. Complex has built its brand around music, trainers and pop culture, with its music vertical being one of the largest remaining editorial brands in the space. Where does UMG fit in to this? It is one of the investors in the new company created by Ntwrk’s acquisition alongside Main Street Advisors, Goldman Sachs and former UMG and Apple executive Jimmy Iovine. However, UMG is also described as a ‘strategic partner’ in the venture, starting with plans for collaboration with its Interscope Geffen A&M (IGA) and Capitol Music Group labels.

Block Discloses $132.3 Million Tidal ‘Goodwill Impairment Charge,’ Citing ‘Strategic Focus’ Changes

Nearly three years after purchasing Tidal in an approximately $300 million deal, Block (formerly Square) has identified a $132.3 million “goodwill impairment charge” stemming from the streaming service. This noteworthy detail came to light in the fourth-quarter and full-year 2023 earnings report of Block (NYSE: SQ), after March of 2021 saw Jay-Z offload a majority Tidal stake to the Jack Dorsey-led payments company.

Live Nation Annual Revenues Hit Another Record in Fiscal 2023, Jumping 36% to $22.7 Billion

Live Nation reports another record year in annual revenues in fiscal 2023, jumping 36% to $22.7 billion, as fans continue flocking to shows after COVID-19 restrictions shuttered the live event sector for the better part of two years. The promoter and ticketing giant saw record revenues in 2023, continuing to top its previous record in 2022 — with adjusted operating income doubling that from 2019, the last full year before the pandemic put the kibosh on the live events sector. Touring artists were in ample demand, with concert attendance jumping 20.3%.

Queen close to record $1.2 BILLION sale of music catalog - defying slump in song valuations

British rock legends Queen are nearing a record-shattering $1.2 billion sale of their entire music catalog – defying a slump in song valuations since a string of megadeals during the pandemic. The surviving band members and Freddie Mercury's estate are in advanced talks to sell their recordings, publishing rights and royalty streams for more than double the current record set by Bruce Springsteen, who sold the rights to his music for $550 million in 2021. Springsteen's deal was inked before a string of other artists including Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Justin Bieber, also bagged hundreds of millions of dollars for their own collections. But the market has cooled since and some major investors have devalued their song collections by as much as 14 percent.

Universal Music Group to acquire stake in Chord Music Partners

Universal Music Group will acquire a 25.8% interest in Chord Music Partners for $240 million. The deal with KKR and Dundee Partners, the investment office of the Hendel family, values Chord at $1.85 billion. Chord, which was formed in 2021 by KKR and Dundee Partners, is described as a “pure-play catalogue of premier music intellectual property”. Chord’s portfolio includes works from artists and songwriters including The Weeknd, Ryan Tedder/OneRepublic, David Guetta, Lorde, Kid Cudi, Diplo, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Ellie Goulding, ZZ Top, John Legend, Twenty One Pilots and many more. UMG and Dundee Partners will enter into a new long-term strategic partnership to actively manage Chord’s rights through UMG’s global network, and to acquire additional catalogues via Chord in the future. “As a leader in music-based entertainment, UMG is positioned and resourced to manage and drive growth for Chord’s existing rights catalogues, while UMG and Dundee Partners are both aligned in their long-term vision for the acquisition, management and growth opportunities for significant, timeless music-rights catalogues,” said a statement.

Random Ramblings

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  • The last phase of TikTok’s UMG music takedowns has begun
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