David Renzer, who previously headed up the Universal Music Publishing Group as chairman/CEO, has resurfaced in music publishing with a deep-pocket backer the Saban Capital Group, a private investment firm established by Haim Saban.
The Renzer and Saban effort is already in advanced discussions on a number of potential music rights acquisitions, according to an announcement.
While Renzer, who will be president of music ventures for the Saban Capital Group, says he expects eventually to build a full-service publishing company, but the development of the company will depend on the acquisitions it makes. Saban previously was a player in music publishing that owned the music it incorporated into its Saban Brands television productions for shows like "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers," "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," "The Addams Family Reunion" and "Princess Sissi."
Saban sold that portfolio of music -- encompassing a slate of theme songs, cues and scores from more than 90 television series, 3,700 television episodes and 100 made-for-TV films and specials -- in 2010 to Bug Music, which has since been acquired by BMG Rights Management. But as Saban continues to create television programming, it also is creating a new publishing catalog, which will be incorporated into the new venture.
The new venture will fight nicely in a portfolio of entertainment and media properties that Saban Capital has stakes. They include Univision; Celestial Tiger Entertainment, which is a venture with Lionsgate and Astro; Taomee, a children's online entertainment company in China; and Sky Vision, Indonesia's largest pay TV platform.
"Media and music rights have long been at the core of investment activity at Saban Capital Group," Saban Capital president/COO Adam Chesnoff said in a statement. "By partnering with an experienced and talented executive such as David, we believe we can take an entrepreneurial and opportunistic approach to building a great music publishing company together."
Saban Capital Group chairman/CEO Haim Saban said in a statement that this is the right time to get back into music publishing.
"The formation of our music venture enables us to utilize our extensive experience in music and media rights as well as leverage our increasing activity in the creation of broadcast properties," he said. "As the music industry continues its consolidation, we feel it is an opportune time to commit significant investment capital to music rights and we have great confidence that David, with his vast experience, will help us create an exciting new music publishing company together."
For his part, Renzer noted that while he hopes to eventually field a full-service publishing company, one ingredient that is sure to be a part of the mix is a focus on TV and film -- whether that be in production music or pursuing synchronization opportunities for whatever songs it acquires.
Like Saban, Renzer says that the consolidation going on because of the acquisition of EMI Music Publishing by a consortium of investors led by Sony Corp. of America, and their plan to have EMI administered by Sony/ATV, will provide plenty of opportunity for boutique firms that can pay attention to a smaller portfolio of songs.
"It's quite a challenge to manage millions of copyright, and that challenge inevitably means that some songwriters or catalogs" might feel neglected, Renzer says. "So there is going to be opportunities on a whole host of levels."