Kobalt has acquired the music division of Fintage House in a deal that paves the way for the independent music services company to become the undisputed market leader in the multi-billion dollar neighboring rights business.
The deal was brokered by Shot Tower Capital and brings Fintage House's Neighbouring Rights and Publishing businesses -- representing clients such as Katy Perry, Bruce Springsteen and Britney Spears, among others -- under the Kobalt wing. The transitioning of services will take place over the coming months, according to a statement from Kobalt, which claimed that the merger of the two companies "will help set a new industry standard for neighboring rights collections and payments."
"We're incredibly excited to work with the roster of creators that Fintage represents," said Willard Ahdritz, Kobalt founder and CEO, confirming the deal. Bringing the two firms together "strengthens our ability to collect more income for more creators from more places around the world," he went on to say.
Those sentiments were echoed by Niels Teves, Fintage House co-CEO, who said "we can achieve more for the music industry and its clients by merging our forces and values, than we could apart."
Since partnering with Rights Agency Ltd in 2012, privately-owned Fintage House has been the No. 1 market leader in the field of neighboring rights -- the collection of fees and royalties owed to artists and producers from the use of their recordings on the radio and TV. It's a sector that was worth just over $2 billion for rights holders globally in 2015, rising from $1.44 billion in 2010, according to IFPI.
To capitalize, Kobalt's Neighbouring Rights division was launched in 2012 and has rapidly expanded, reporting 127 percent year-on-year growth to total $20.9 million in 2015, up from $9.2 million in 2014.
"We are very keen to continue to build on what we have created in Kobalt in a relatively short space of time and take this increasingly important revenue stream to new levels," said Ann Tausis, managing director of Kobalt Neighboring Rights.
Founded by Willard Ahdritz in 2000, Kobalt's three core divisions -- Music Publishing, Label Services and Neighbouring Rights -- have grown to represent 500 publishing companies, 600,000 songs and over 8,000 artists and songwriters, including Beck, Dr. Luke, Dave Grohl, Max Martin, Paul McCartney, Pitbull, Sam Smith, Ariana Grande and Skrillex. Collectively, the company claims its roster accounts for, on average, 40 percent of the top 100 songs albums in both the U.K. and U.S.
Despite its impressive growth, the U.K.-registered company posted a loss of $27.3 million (up from $18.5 million in 2014) on revenues of $245.05 million (up from $195.06 million) for the year ended June 30, 2015, according to accounts filed at Companies House.
Following the acquisition of its music and publishing division, Fintage House, which is headquartered in Leiden in the Netherlands, will continue to focus on its TV, film and other business lines.