Sony Corp. USA To own 38% of EMI Music Publishing, No Official Word on Staffing

Sony Corp. USA will own 38% of EMI Music Publishing and provide management oversight for the EMI music publishing operations. That's the word from Rob Wiesenthal, the executive VP/CFO at Sony Corporation of America.

"We are providing operations services and management expertise to oversee EMI Music Publishing," Wiesenthal says. "It will be our job to find a more efficient way to manage the [assets] and enhance revenue, and fortunately we have the CEO of Sony/ATV who helped build that company."

Wiesenthal said Sony put in $325 million for its stake in EMI Music Publishing, which was also funded by undisclosed amounts from other equity investors. Those included the estate of Michael Jackson; Mubadala Development Company PJSC; Jynwel Capital Limited; the Blackstone Group's GSO Capital Partners LP; and David Geffen. Wiesenthal declined to reveal how much debt and equity was used to finance the deal, but he did say that in addition to debt financing from UBS, Blackstone accompanied its equity investment with providing some of the debt financing too.

SonyATV Music Publishing chairman/CEO Martin Bandier said they haven't decided how EMI Publishing will be staffed. But he added that they plan to use shared services for EMI Music Publishing and Sony/ATV. One possibility, industry observers point out, is to keep A&R staff at EMI Music Publishing and allow Sony/ATV to act as an administrator.

When asked if the separate ownership structures for Sony/ATV and EMI Music Publishing will help the deal get regulatory commitment, or how long the approval process will take, Wiesenthal said, "We are not giving estimates on that."

Bandier says it "feels unbelievable" to be reunited with the EMI Music Publishing copyrights. "I am ecstatic and pinching myself," he continues. "It's a reunion with a company that I feel close to and helped to build. I always say that music publishing is a personal business. What songs you like are personal, working with the songwriters is a personal business, and to be reunited with the people who helped me build this business is very personal. Its an unbelievable closing of the circle."