William Morris Endeavor and its stakeholder Silver Lake Partners have acqui red IMG Worldwide, a rival talent agency and marketing firm with particular depth in sports. WME, the agency run by Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell, came out on top during an auction where bids were submitted on Dec. 13. Bids of less than $1.8 billion came in from CVC Capital and Chernin Entertainment and a consortium of ICM Partners and the Carlyle Group. Emanuel and Whitesell will serve as co-CEOs of the combined company. Terms of the transaction, including the sale price, weren’t disclosed, but Mubadala Development will be a minority investor in the firm. IMG is considered a plum asset because it is reportedly expected to earn about $175 million this year. Both a talent agency and producer, IMG represents such celebrities as Peyton Manning, Taylor Swift and Justin Timberlake.
“Weird Al” Yankovic has settled a lawsuit that his company Ear Booker brought against Sony Music in March 2012. The suit was among many brought by artists who contended that labels have breached contracts by improperly treating digital downloads as “sales” rather than “licenses.” As a result, Yankovic only received about 15% of shared income instead of 50% from such digital hubs as iTunes. The difference was alleged to have resulted in Sony underpaying Yankovic at least $1.5 million. Among other alleged breaches were improperly charging marketing costs for various VH1 and MTV specials, underpaying on domestic publishing royalties, failing to pay Yankovic for goods given or discounted to retailers, failing to properly account for streaming transmissions like ringbacks, and under-reporting sync income on music used on TV shows around the world. The lawsuit also targeted Google’s 2006 purchase of YouTube and a content licensing agreement then struck by Sony. Yankovic demanded a piece of the Sony-YouTube deal in proportion to the value of his videos, as well as payments from licensing agreements and settlements that Sony had struck with third parties, including Spotify and Vevo. In total, more than $5 million was alleged in damages. Papers filed by the parties in a New York federal court to dismiss the case with prejudice don’t specify what Yankovic ended up getting.
Round Hill Music has announced a new addition to its expanding roster: Graveyard Lovers. The New York-based four-piece joins American Authors, Sleepy Kitty, Isaac Delusion and Bloodgroup as one of several up-and-coming bands on the expanding roster, which also includes a deep back catalog that contains songs recorded by the Beatles, Cee Lo Green and Frank Sinatra. The co-publishing agreement with Graveyard Lovers follows the recent addition of fellow new signing Wild Party, which announced its deal with Round Hill in November.