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HEDGE FUND BUYS SESAC

Music rights organization SESAC Holdings, which has a roster that includes Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond and Mumford & Sons, is being sold to the private equity fund Blackstone. It is the first music industry investment for Blackstone, which oversees $100b in private-equity assets.

Current owner Rizvi Traverse Management, which paid $600m for 75% of the company in 2013, did not disclose terms.

Blackstone says the investment is part of its core private equity strategy, which is designed to hold investments for much longer periods of time than traditional private equity funds. The new fund was created to hold companies for 10 to 15 years, double the period of most hedge-fund investments.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of the first quarter.

SESAC offers singular licenses for the works of its affiliated writers and publishers that aggregate both performance and mechanical rights. It recently expanded its activities to include the international market through MINT, a joint venture with Swiss collection society SUISA, which will license and administer music rights to digital music platforms on a pan-European basis.

Among SESAC’s 30,000 affiliates are Rush, Zac Brown, Lady Antebellum and Mariah Carey. SESAC acquired the Harry Fox Agency in 2015.

“The long-term investment horizon of their core private equity platform was especially attractive to us as we seek to execute our company’s growth strategy in our primary performance rights business, as well as mechanical rights, administrative services, multi-rights and multi-territory licensing,” SESAC Chairman and CEO John Josephson said.

Josephson also said Blackstone intends to retain the existing management team. “We anticipate a seamless transition in ownership with no disruption to our business activities as a result of this transaction.”

Robert Reid, Senior Managing Director at Blackstone, said, “We expect music listenership to continue to grow over the long-term and are excited to invest in SESAC, one of the key facilitators of the music market and related copyright management infrastructure.”

 

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