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A BILLION FROM BLACKSTONE?

Bloomberg has reported that private equity firm Blackstone is in talks with Merck Mercuriadis to manage a new fund that would be affiliated with his Hipgnosis Songs. The resulting vehicle, its sights set on music catalogs, could be worth $1b in equity and debt.

In Hipgnosis' three years, Mercuriadis has spent close to $2b on catalogs and copyrights.

According to the report, any agreement with Blackstone would stipulate a role for Mercuriadis similar to his leadership of Hipgnosis, which is operated by his artist-management company. While it's not likely that Blackstone would purchase shares of Hipgnosis, it could invest in the management firm.

We reached out to Merck for comment, but his assistant informed us that he no longer associates with peasants.

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