Hipgnosis Songs, a music IP investment company set up by former Beyoncé and Guns N' Roses manager Merck Mercuriadis, has raised £200 million ($260 million) in investment capital to fund the acquisition of hit songs and copyrights.
The Guernsey-registered business, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange, says it is initially looking to acquire eight catalogs from well-known songwriters, spanning over 1,000 songs, including more than 10 Number 1s in the U.K. and U.S. The targeted catalogs are said to include compositions from each of the past five decades and include hits that have been performed by more than 50 global artists.
A prospectus published last year ahead of an aborted IPO identified Adele, Beyonce, Justin Bieber and Kanye West among the recording artists identified. Hipgnosis' current prospectus doesn't mention any artist names, but does state that the "pipeline catalogs" it is looking at "contain proven, evergreen songs from award- winning songwriters… well suited to the company's investment strategy."
It identifies emerging markets, improved tracking and collection of royalties through technology, and music usage in social media among the future growth opportunities for royalty income to rise, providing good returns to investors.
The fundraising was overseen by London-based investment bank N+1 Singer, while Nile Rodgers, who is managed by Mercuriadis, sits on Hipgnosis' advisory board.
Other members of the advisory board include music management heavyweight Ian Montone (Jack White, LCD Soundsystem, Vampire Weekend), Lava Records CEO Jason Flom and entertainment lawyer William Leibowitz.
"I believe that the song, even more so than the artist, is the most important component in a hit record," said Mercuriadis, whose former clients include Elton John, Guns N' Roses, Morrissey, Iron Maiden, Beyoncé and Diane Warren. The Canada-born exec was also CEO of London-based The Sanctuary Group prior to its sale to Universal Music in 2007.
"I'm delighted that the financial community is supporting our thesis that the proven hit songs we are targeting for acquisition are very investable assets," said Mercuriadis in a statement announcing the successful IPO.
"I've spent the better part of the last 35 years advocating for great artists, songwriters and producers and my ambition is to grow the fund not only to provide great returns for our investors but equally well in due course to create the leverage that only critical mass can provide to change the songwriters position in the economic model," he went on to say.