Concord Bicycle Music has acquired Imagem, giving it control of the Rodgers & Hammerstein and Boosey & Hawkes catalogs, as well as either the global or European rights to such songwriters as Kaiser Chiefs, Justin Timberlake, Wynton Marsalis, Phil Collins, Genesis, The Temper Trap, Vampire Weekend, M.I.A. and Daft Punk, among others. Sources say Concord paid close to $600 million for the company.
The acquisition of Imagem, first reported by the New York Times, would make Bicycle Music the sixth largest music publisher in the world, Billboard estimates. The Boosey & Hawkes classical music catalog represents a new wrinkle for Concord Bicycle, but the rest of the Imagem catalog fits nicely in the company’s game plan of owning iconic songs for its music-publishing arm and putting out heritage artists through its labels.
The deal occurs two years after a busted auction in which Imagem failed to realize bids of at at least $650 million, the amount of money Dutch Pension Fund ABP and music publishing firm CP Masters invested in jointly building Imagem. At the time, Imagem had $53 million in net publisher’s share, or gross profit, but $4 million of that was sold off when ole acquired Imagem’s production music library. This time out, the successful auction was run by Shot Tower Capital, which also ran the deal for the Jackson estate that sold its 50 percent of Sony/ATV to Sony Corp.
The move gives Concord, which recently had Paul McCartney and his catalog taken out from under them by the Capitol Music Group, an estimated $300 million in revenue and better positions the company for an eventual sale of itself to one of the majors, or BMG, or to go public through a stock offering. Previously, BMG had offered to buy Concord for $500 million when the Concord owners were looking for $700 million, sources have told Billboard.
Wood Creek Capital Management, first through Bicycle Music, and then through adding Concord along the way, began its roll-up of music labels and publishers about 10 years ago, with the game plan of building a company that would be attractive to one of the majors, or to any other company that wanted to break into music in a big way. Institutional investors typically take a five to 10-year investment horizon. Last year, Wood Creek and other investment subsidiaries of MassMutual were combined into Baring Asset Management, which now owns the Concord Bicycle Music assets.