The publishing assets have a net publisher's share of $12.5 million, according to sources. The assets include song catalogs of Duffy; Matt Cardle; Bullet For My Valentine; Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark's Andy McClusky; Bryan Ferry; Culture Club; Devo; Fine Young Cannibals; Iggy Pop; Lenny Kravitz; the Prodigy's Liam Howlett; Martha and the Muffins; Guru Josh AKA Paul Walden; Richard Ashcroft; Robbie Williams; Soul II Soul; Stereo MCs; Tears For Fears; Terence Trent D'arby; Texas; the Beloved; the Human League; Ben Harper; the Goo Goo Dolls; Ozzy Osbourne; Kurt Cobain; John Barry; Jim Steinman; the Crystal Method; Tool; Warrant; Mark Ronson; Ian Dury and Chaz Jenkel; Placebo; the Kooks; Take That's Gary Barlow; Jason Orange and Howard Donald.
Sony/ATV agreed to put the above assets up for sale in exchange of winning regulatory approval for the acquisition of EMI Music Publishing. A Sony Corp. of America-led consortium of investors acquired the EMI assets, with Sony/ATV serving as administrator.
Sony-Led Group Closes Purchase of EMI Music Publishing
Initially, nine bidders took part in the auction and those eliminated after the second round are ole, Imagem, Bicycle Music, Saban Capital and Primary Wave, which was backed by Oaktree Capital Management, sources say.
While the catalog was initially projected to fetch anywhere from $125 million to $140 million, some say that $110 million seems like the more likely ceiling price, because many songs in the portfolio are prone to author reversions. In the U.S., authors can try and reclaim ownership of their songs after 35 years thanks to copyright law, but in Europe it's customary to assign songs to a publisher for a specified term. And once it expires, by contract, the songs and all the licenses on them revert to the songwriters.
Consequently, one bidder estimates that about half the assets up for sale "are close to their withering date." Some sources say the reversions would ultimately hurt the final sale price, but other sources note that a vigorous auction process could result in the catalog commanding its initial price target.
All the music companies mentioned above declined to comment or hadn't responded by press time.