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NEAR TRUTHS: CATALOG DANCE

CATALOG DANCE: Although the rise in interest rates has generally driven catalog multiples down—in most cases three to five points—the Pink Floyd catalog is a rare jewel that most deal watchers agree is valued in the high 20s/low 30s-times-multiple range. Despite some splashy reports in the British press, those close to the process say there is no short list of bidders quite yet. U.K. attorney Patrick McKenna is said to be running point on the Floyd catalog sale, and we understand a lot of NDAs are out.

An interesting bit of timing in all this is that UMG, enjoined by the EU from repurchasing any asset it divested as a condition of the EMI merger for 10 years, now reaches the end of that regulatory period and could jump into the game for the Floyd catalog, once part of the Parlophone trove it was obliged to sell (and which landed, of course, at WMG).

Current deal points notwithstanding, the market is still betting big-time on music. Primary Wave’s brand-new, $2b infusion from Brookfield Asset Management is a huge get for Larry Mestel’s shop, which acquires Joey Ramone rights as its first move under the pact (CAA is also taking a stake in PW). The new funds place no limit on how long the company can own a catalog. Team Mestel plans to close some $600m in additional deals by year’s end.

Now comes word that Justin Bieber is preparing to do a fat deal for his catalog, and that the Canadian superstar’s compositions could fetch 22 or 23 times multiple—representing somewhere in the neighborhood of $200m—and chatter abounds as Scooter Braun and Aaron Rosenberg go exploring.

Economic winds may blow the prices of smaller catalogs around the harbor, but the blue-chip song collections, most agree, are anchored firm. The Michael Jackson catalog, stewarded peerlessly by estate manager John Branca, is widely considered the most valuable of all, thought to be in the neighborhood of $1.5 billion. The already huge Whitney Houston trove, now under the stewardship of Primary Wave, is likely to get a B12 shot from the Sony Tristar biopic I Wanna Dance With Somebody, hitting screens over the holidays, along with an RCA soundtrack. If the reported $300m price tag for the Phil Collins/Genesis catalog is accurate, on the other hand, Concord may have overpaid—at least according to those who’ve seen the numbers, who say the company paid a very high 30+ multiple. We’re hearing, meanwhile, that as Josh Gruss attempts to find a buyer for catalog-aggregator Round Hill Music, he’s meeting headwinds getting his price because his continuing involvement in a top post remains a condition of the sale.

IT’S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE HITS LIST
With a star on top (12/9a)
MEDIABASE ’22:
THE BIG RED #1
Red and Gray pair nicely. (12/9a)
SONG REVENUE:
’TIS THE SEASON
It's the most wonderful time of the year. (12/9a)
SWIFT TO DIRECT A FEATURE FILM
What can't she do? (12/9a)
GRAMMY NOMS:
THE LIST
For your consideration (12/6a)
GRAMMY HANDICAPPING
Who's likely to win in the major categories? We have no idea.
THE NEXT BIG PLAYER
in the catalog game is...
TRUMP CORP II
Totally less fraudulent than Trump Corp.
IS IT CHRISTMAS YET?
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