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Imagem, one of the world’s largest independent music publishers, is on the block and being shopped by New York-based investment bank Jeffries L.L.C, according to sources from the financial and publishing industries.The company, which was founded in 2007 by Dutch Pension Fund ABP and music publishing firm CP Masters, owns and/or administrates publishing rights for some of the biggest names in pop, rock and classical music --Daft Punk, Justin Timberlake, Vampire Weekend, Ludacris, Igor Stravinsky, Aaron Copland, Serge Prokofieff and Benjamin Britten -- as well as musical theater greats Rodgers & Hammerstein.
The sources say ABP is looking to make back the approximately $650 million it invested in publishing acquisitions. It’s believed that the pension fund already extracted dividends from the company during its ownership.Imagem chief executive Andre De Raaff says a sale isn't the only option being explored. In an email to Billboard, De Raaff explained that ABP has invested in Imagem for more than six years and finds the “time right to look at this investment and to investigate the best options for the future.” He added that the three scenarios the publishing firm is investigating are “a sale; a strategic partnership; or a hold,” and other sources confirm that if the pension fund can't get the price it wants, it may not go through with a sale now.He said a decision about the future of Imagem will be known by the summer.Imagem paid approximately $225 million to acquire music publisher Rodgers & Hammerstein in May 2009; $240 million for classical music publisher Boosey & Hawkes in April 2008; and about $150 million for the Rondor, Zomba UK, BBC Catalogue, 19 Music and 19 Songs in February 2008 --all assets divested as part of the Universal Music Publishing Group and BMG Publishing merger.
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