As the music-rights acquisition spree led by Hipgnosis, Primary Wave, Round Hill and others continues to heat up, Warner Music has thrown its hat into the ring, notifying Wall Street Monday that its acquisition group has raised $250 million via a private offering, noting that it “intends to use the net proceeds of the offering to fund a portion of aggregate cash considerations of certain acquisitions.” The news was first reported by Music Business Worldwide.
While Warner has invested in assets ranging from the tech company IMGN and the live-music app Songkick to the publications like HipHopDX and Uproxx, a source confirmed to Variety that the objective of the new offering is repertoire, particularly catalogs.
Warner Music launched its IPO in June after a delay of several weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Its initial public offering price of $25 per share for a market capitalization value of around $12.7 billion — which rose 15% to nearly $15 billion in early trading, although it has vacillated in the ensuing weeks and is currently around $30 per share.
Earlier this month, news broke that New York-based publisher Round Hill Music is aiming to raise $375 million for its new royalty fund when it on the London Stock Exchange in November. According to reports, it intends to purchase a portfolio of 120,000 songs from 40 catalogs by artists including the Beatles, Celine Dion and the Rolling Stones.
While the music industry, and live entertainment in particular, have been deeply damaged by the pandemic, recorded-music and music publishing have proven to be stronger assets and in many cases have grown in value, a situation further driven by Hipgnosis’ aggressive move into the industry over the past two years. It has spent more than $1 billion on catalogs since mid-2018 and is announcing several new acquisitions per month. Warner’s move seems likely to heat up the market even more.
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