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MERCK’S HIPGNOSIS
SET FOR IPO (UPDATE)

Former Sanctuary CEO Merck Mercuriadis is aiming to cash in on the rapidly gaining value of master recordings by floating his music royalties fund, Hipgnosis Songs, on the London Stock Exchange in order to raise £200m worth of catalogue-acquisition funds.

The move is a response to the growing wealth in streaming. Mercuriadis told the Evening Standard: “[Vinyl records] started to get adopted very quickly, but it wasn't until The Beatles’ broke up in 1970 that you realised what a tremendous business this had become. And I think we’re in the same place with streaming right now.”

Hipgnosis aims to float within the next two weeks. Its target annual dividend yield is 6.5%, with the first to be paid in November this year. The firm’s advisory board includes Nile Rodgers and rapper The-Dream. Mercuriadis, who worked with Elton John, Beyoncé, The Who, Guns N’ Roses and more during his 20-year tenure at Sanctuary, is currently listed as a director at three companies registered in the U.K.: Hipgnosis Copyrights, the dormant Attack Records and London/L.A.-based management, publisher and label Hipgnosis Music Limited. The original Attack was an imprint of Sanctuary before the latter was sold to Universal in 2007, and five years later to BMG as part of divestments required for the Universal/EMI merger.

Ian Montone, Jason Flom, Lance Freed and Bill Leibowitz are among the members of the Advisory Board; Rupert Perry serves as a non-executive Director, alongside Rolling Stones Business Manager Andrew Wilkinson.
 
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