BMG acquires publisher Bug Music

Move raises speculation over EMI bid

Continuing its aggressive acquisition of publishing companies, BMG Rights Management is acquiring L.A.-based Bug Music.

Berlin-based firm reportedly has EMI, or its publishing holdings, in its sights.

The Bug deal, terms of which were not announced, brings a catalog of more than 250,000 copyrights to BMG. Compositions include such evergreens as “Fever,” “What a Wonderful World,” “I Walk the Line” and “Under the Boardwalk.”

Bug reps the estates of Johnny Cash, Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, Woody Guthrie, Del Shannon and Stevie Ray Vaughn, as well as Pete Townshend, Iggy Pop and Ryan Adams. Roots music and Americana are an especially strong suit.

Founded by Dan Bourgoise in 1975, firm was purchased by Spectrum Equity in 2006. It bought the Windswept Music and Trio/Quartet catalogs in 2007. Company has also been involved in joint ventures with Kara DioGuardi and Jamie Foxx.

Over the last three years, BMG Rights Management — a joint venture of Bertelsmann AG and investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts — has been snapping up publishers at a record pace. Acquisitions have included Chrysalis, Cherry Lane and Evergreen.

The company is reportedly in the hunt for industry-leading EMI, which controls a publishing catalog of 1.3 million songs.

Citigroup’s auction of EMI has proceeded quietly, and it remains unknown if BMG Rights Management has bid on just EMI’s publishing side or the entirety of its label and publishing holdings. EMI topper Roger Faxon has urged Citi to sell the company intact.

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