Blackstone strikes $1.6 billion deal with Hipgnosis after tense bidding war

Concord had outbid Blackstone’s earlier offer, but it came back with a higher number.

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Merck Mercuriadis

Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty

The bidding war for Hipgnosis Songs Fund shows no sign of slowing down, with Blackstone striking a $1.6 billion (£1.28b) deal to take over the company.

As part of the deal, Blackstone values the investor at $1.30 (£1.04) per share, and beats a previous offer from Concord, which valued Hipgnosis at $1.25 (£1) per share. It made the offer on 29 April, just days after Concord outbid Blackstone’s earlier offer by 10 cents.

While Concord’s bid originally won Hipgnosis’ board’s support, it withdrew its recommendation for the offer and went for the offer from Blackstone instead.

Blackstone has acquired the rights to songs by Justin Timberlake and Justin Bieber, but this deal will see another 65,000 tracks added to its catalogue, including hits from Shakira, Ed Sheeran, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Neil Young.

Meanwhile, per Reuters, Blackstone has also invested in US-based performance rights organisation SESAC, which boasts affiliates including Bob Dylan and Adele.

Hipgnosis chairman Robert Naylor said in a statement, “We are delighted that, following competitive interests in acquiring Hipgnosis, our investors now have a chance to immediately realise their holding at an increased premium.”

Blackstone is a majority shareholder in Hipgnosis’s investment adviser, HSM, which manages artists and songwriters for the fund, and holds a call option to make a higher offer for Hipgnosis’s portfolio if the advisory agreement ends up being terminated.

Hipgnosis has been struggling financially since last year, with concerns around valuations, legal battles, and conflict with shareholders over a catalogue sale deal. In December, the fund, set up by Chic’s Nile Rodgers and Merck Mercuriadis, who used to manage the likes of Elton John and Beyoncé, delayed the publication of its half-year results, after concerns that music catalogues and songs weren’t being valued highly enough.


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