The auction for Core Media’s packaged estates of Elvis Presley and Muhammad Ali is now in the second round as bids are landing at the the Raine Group, the investment bank running the auction for Core Media. The New York Post reported that bids were due Wednesday (Aug. 14).
Among the suitors expected to place bids are Sony Corp. (on behalf of Sony Music Entertainment and Sony/ATV); and the G2 Investment Group, where former Evergreen Copyrights principal David Schulhof is the managing director of the firm's media business. A couple of companies that mine name and likeness assets are also expected to place bids.
Sony Music Entertainment already handles the Presley master recording catalog, so if its bid were successful the company would no longer need to make artist royalty payments to the estate.
Sources say that the properties up for sale generate about $15 million annually in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.
In another measure, the Presley publishing catalog, which is currently administered by Imagem, reportedly has $6 million in net publisher's share. That catalog is 50% owned by the Presley estate and 50% owned by the heirs of Hill & Range founder Julian Aberbach and his brother, Jean. The part up for sale has $3 million in net publisher's share.
According to sources, the packaging of the Presley and the Ali assets is making it difficult for bidders to get a handle on the assets, because running those assets and maximizing revenue require diverse skill sets. But not everyone has the expertise to buy and maximize revenue from all of those assets. So sources suggest that interested parties are pairing up to chase the assets they want because owner Core Media won’t bifurcate them.
For example, in addition to the recording masters royalties and the publishing assets, the Presley estate also includes real estate assets like Graceland and Heartbreak Hotel. Sony could buy the music assets, but does the company have expertise in running themed real estate assets like Graceland and the hotel?
While first round bids for the Presley and Ali estate were in the $200 million range, sources say second round bids lowered in the $100 million to $150 million range, because the recognition that both Heartbreak Hotel and the Graceland mansion itself will require a capital infusion in order to upgrade and maintain the properties. There is room to build an adjacent hotel, which would also require a capitol infusion, sources say.