NEAR TRUTHS:
PRIMARY NUMBERS

Though the catalog-acquisition market has shown signs of slowing, Larry Mestel’s Primary Wave continues to grow the major business he's steadfastly built over the course of nearly two decades while B players such as Litmus, Harbourview, Eldridge, Reservoir and Shamrock continue to flop around, picking up deals here and there. Mestel’s shop, with nearly $3.5b in combined assets, is currently negotiating another $1b in deals and has cannily expanded its global footprint by acquiring two related businesses of significant size, Times Music in India and Nas Nuvens in Brazil; both had been IP-acquisition competitors to PW in these large and important territories.

Among the artist catalogs and brands in the portfolio are several that merit the use of that overused word “iconic”—including Prince, Smokey Robinson, Bob Marley, James Brown, Bing Crosby and Whitney Houston (in the wake of the hit Marley film, 2024 will bring a fusillade of Broadway shows, documentaries, TV series, immersive installations and other PW-fueled projects; on 4/16 PW announced that a Marley "experience" would be launching at Mandalay Bay in Vegas later this year). The company has been relentlessly creative in pursuing opportunities for its affiliated brands, venturing confidently into apparel, cosmetics, toys, hot sauce, lotto scratchers and countless other sectors.

With a nearly 100-strong staff primarily focused on marketing, branding and content and more than $1b in cash reserves, the Wave is poised to become tidal. Multiple competitors have tried the public route, but the firm’s preferred option has been to stay private in conjunction with its established financial partners, including Brookfield.

Along with Merck Mercuriadis, who hasn’t been in the game nearly as long, Mestel has been an essential player in defining the present landscape—boosting value in a way that, for a fairly long while, has helped lift all boats. As the biz awaits the outcome of the Hipgnosis situation, 2024 looks to be a crucial year in determining the shape of the IP market.

HITS LIST SLIPS
INTO SUMMER
Fire up the grill. (5/27a)
TOP 50: SWIFT'S STREAK GROWS; BILLIE'S BIGGEST BOW YET
Ladies' choice (5/24a)
A PRE-SUMMER PHOTO GALLERY
Each worth a thousand words (5/27a)
DOJ FILES ANTITRUST LAWSUIT AGAINST LIVE NATION
A game of Monopoly on Capitol Hill (5/24a)
NEAR TRUTHS:
HOWDY, PARTNER
Redrawing the Mason-Dixon Line (5/24a)
THE NEW UMG
Gosh, we hope there are more press releases.
TIKTOK BANNED!
Unless the Senate manages to make this whole thing go away, that is.
THE NEW HUGE COUNTRY ACT
No, not that one.
TRUMP'S CAMPAIGN PLAYLIST
Now 100% unlicensed!
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