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SONY MOVING CLOSER TO SALE OF SONY/ATV

Sony Corp., which owns half of Sony/ATV, recently triggered a clause in its contract with co-owner the Michael Jackson estate, which allows one party to buy out the other, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal’s Hannah Karp

The initiation of the buy/sell process was confirmed by Sony Entertainment chief Michael Lynton in an email to Sony/ATV employees disseminated as a result of the WSJ report. We've obtained that memo; the complete text is here.

“This process has just now begun, and as noted our next steps will be based on a number of different factors,” Lynton wrote. “For now, I ask that you proceed with business as usual, stay focused on your work, and continue to build on Sony/ATV’s terrific legacy and success.”

There’s no question it would be a blue-ribbon acquisition based on just two of its catalogs: those of The Beatles and Taylor Swift.

Music industry veterans estimate Sony/ATV’s value at around $2 billion, Karp notes in the story. Sony hasn’t put a price tag on its share yet, the people familiar with the matter said, adding the process isn’t a public auction pending the outcome of direct negotiations between Sony and the Jackson estate. Lenders were notified when Sony triggered the exit clause last month, these people added. There’s no guarantee the process will result in Sony selling its half.

The potential sale of its stake in Sony/ATV could help Sony raise a chunk of much-needed cash. The pubco generated $560m in revenue for Sony last year and a projected $580m this year, according to Sony regulatory filings.

The potential sale first came to light in emails among top Sony execs last November, part of the massive hack allegedly perpetrated by North Korea.

In response to our query this morning, a Sony rep said, “We are not commenting.” 

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