Friday, December 21, 2012

BMG Buys Virgin, Famous Music Catalog From Sony/ATV

Scott Roxborough/The Hollywood Reporter

Matt Hartman
Music label BMG has signed a deal to acquire selected music publishing catalogs from Virgin Music Publishing, Famous U.K. Music Publishing and selected titles from Sony/ATV and EMI Music Publishing.

The deals give BMG, the world’s fourth-largest music publishing company, worldwide rights to songs from recording artists such asTake That, Nirvana, Duffy and Iggy Pop.

The 21,000-song Virgin Publishing catalog includes such hits as Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit, Robbie Williams’ Let Me Entertain You and Passenger by Iggy Pop. Hits from 1980s, such as Tears for Fears' Shout, Karma Chameleon from the CultureClub and Human League's Don't You Want Me are also among the highlights of the catalogs BMG has acquired.

“These catalogs contain some of the most influential and successful songs in popular music,” said BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch, announcing the deals Friday. “We are delighted to have won the opportunity to represent the writers of those songs and to demonstrate to them BMG’s commitment to twenty-first century service.”

The deals are a result of Sony/ATV’s $2.2 billion deal to buy EMI’s publishing arm this summer. To secure European regulatory approval for the acquisition, Sony Music and the estate of Michael Jackson, who jointly control Sony/ATV, had to agree to see off various rights catalogs.

Financial details of the deals were not disclosed by BMG, backed by German media group Bertelsmann and private equity house KKR, is thought to have bid around $90 million for the catalogs, beating out competitors including Warner Music and Saban Capital.

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