If new equity sponsor can't be found, ole could find itself up for sale.
Toronto-based music publisher ole is being shopped, with the company looking for suitors to place minimum bids of at least $650 million to enter the process, while seeking an overall valuation of $800 million, according to numerous sources. The company confirmed to Billboard that it is involved in a recapitalization process.
Those sources suggest that the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Fund, the main equity investor behind the more than $520 million in music assets acquired by ole over the last dozen years, is looking to cash out. While ole management is said to want to replace the pension fund with another equity sponsor, which would allow management and its staff to stay in place overseeing the catalog, it may not get that luxury. According to those sources, in addition to equity firms, some strategic competitors have also been contacted about participating in this sale process.
The company confirmed Billboard’s reporting in a statement. "ole has hired RBC Capital Markets to conduct a process to recapitalize the equity portion of ole’s capital structure," a company spokesman says. "It is certainly possible that some party may suggest buying the company, that is not the intention of this process. ole entered into a $500 million credit facility last summer. It remains well capitalized and will continue to operate as usual for the foreseeable future, including seeking acquisitions that make strategic sense."