Merck Mercuriadis, former manager of Elton John, Beyonce and Guns N’ Roses, has raised $260 million in investment capital for Hipgnosis Songs that will acquire hit songs and copyrights. The business will launch an IPO on the London stock exchange in the coming weeks, according to Music Business Worldwide.
In its prospectus, the company stated that it intends to “manage the songs it acquires with the objective of constructing a high quality and diversified portfolio.” It will be run by Mercuriadis (pictured above, far left, with Elton John and Fashion Rocks cofounder Richard Beckman) with an advisory board that includes Chic cofounder and hit producer Nile Rodgers as well as Jack White manager Ian Montone and Lava Records founder Jason Flom.
The prospectus says that Mercuriadis is “undertaking due diligence on, or is in advanced discussions… to acquire, eight catalogs,” adding through Mercuriadis and the board’s “extensive relationships in the music industry, a pipeline of catalogues has been identified which the company believes are not available to all potential purchasers. The catalogues contain proven, evergreen songs from award-winning songwriters which are well-suited to the company’s investment strategy. The Investment adviser believes an opportunity currently exists to acquire catalogues at attractive valuations, where pricing is determined by reference to historical income (which does not yet reflect streaming growth over the last 12 months) and not future forecast revenues.”
It also states that Mercuriadis is assembling an initial team of eight executives to act as synch managers, including “key synchronization managers and publishing experts currently working at Universal Music Group, Sony Records, Warner Chappell and PRS for Music.” Hipgnosis originally attempted an IPO last year.
Mercuriadis first rose to prominence as part of Iron Maiden manager Rod Smallwood’s Sanctuary company, which grew into a label and other businesses; he ultimately became its CEO. Sanctuary Group was sold to Universal Music Group in 2007 for $88 million.