Hipgnosis Songs has acquired Big Deal Music Group and brought board its senior staff, with Kenny MacPherson becoming CEO of Hipgnosis Songs Group and reporting directly to founder and CEO Merck Mercuriadis. He is joined by Co-Presidents Casey Robison and Jamie Cerreta and Executive Vice President Dave Ayers (New York) as well as Senior Vice President Pete Robinson (Nashville) all of whom have signed new five-year contracts, according to the announcement. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The blockbuster move follows Hipgnosis’ appointment earlier this week of industry veterans Ted Cockle as president and Amy Thomson as chief catalog officer, not to mention the company’s aggressive acquisitions of song catalogs since its founding in July of 2018. It moves the quickly growing company onto a new level, bringing in a full-service U.S. music platform with a team of 35 employees that has largely worked together since 2012. Big Deal Music will be rebranded to Hipgnosis Songs Group effective immediately.
Big Deal’s portfolio of copyright interests in hit songs includes Shawn Mendes’ “Stitches” and “Treat You Better,” One Direction’s “Story of My Life,” Panic at the Disco’s “High Hopes,” Niall Horan’s “Slow Hands” and Thomas Rhett’s “Die a Happy Man.” Its writers include Teddy Geiger, Julian Bunetta, John Ryan, Joe London, Kamasi Washington, Sharon Van Etten, Sylvan Esso, Jake Sinclair, Dan Wilson, St Vincent and My Morning Jacket. Its catalog includes more than 4,400 songs.
According to the announcement, the acquisition will be funded from the proceeds of Hipgnosis’ equity fundraise in July 2020 and through the issue of 17,609,304 new Ordinary Shares issued at a price of 120.65p per ordinary share.
Hipgnosis Songs recently released its annual report, which showed its revenues soaring in its first full year of business, climbing to $81 million in the 12 month period ended in March 2020 from around $8.9 million in the preceding period. The firm, which has been on an unprecedented acquisition binge of hit songwriter and producer catalogs — been buying up catalogs by hitmakers ranging from Timbaland and Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart to Jack Antonoff and Jeff Bhasker — began trading on the London Stock Exchange in July of 2018. Between March 2019 and March 2020, the company spent nearly $700 million to acquire 42 catalogs.
Mercuriadis (pictured above, left, with MacPherson, Cerreta and Robison) said: “Over the last two years it has been my privilege to assemble and work with a world class team of individuals of the highest calibre. With this acquisition, and following the appointment of Ted Cockle and Amy Thomson earlier this week, the scale and quality of people working with me to drive shareholder returns reaches new heights and sets our company on the path for the next chapter of its growth. This is a best in class team and we now have the resource to be on top of every song’s destiny all day every day and I’m delighted to welcome Kenny, Casey, Jamie, Dave, Pete and the other 30 plus new team members into the Hipgnosis Family.”
MacPherson, said, “Collectively my partners and I have spent our careers identifying and nurturing some of the most iconic songwriters in contemporary music and creating value for our investors. Over the last eight years at Big Deal Music my partners and I built a meaningful cultural legacy by assembling an incredible group of artists and label partners and world class songwriters. We look forward to bringing those creators and their enormous talent with us as we join Merck and his team at Hipgnosis. What Hipgnosis has assembled in such a short time is truly remarkable – a catalogue of over 13,000 compositions from some of the most important creators in the history of music.”
Big Deal Music Group was represented in the transaction by Shot Tower Capital led by David Dunn and Rob Law; Wallace E. Christner and Rebecca J. Newman at Venable LLP and Elliot Groffman and Paul Gutman at Carroll Guido Groffman Cohen Bar & Karalian, LLP.
Mercuriadis spoke of the company’s growth and philosophy in his statement announcing the deal. “I have always been clear that I believe we have an important responsibility with regard to our culturally important songs and the gold-standard songwriters that have entrusted them to us. We shall now take what is the broken traditional music publishing model and replace it with our concept of Song Management where we nurture, love and get the most out of our songs by putting the most into them. Kenny and his team are enthusiastic about our Song Management philosophy and our mutual passion and expertise is a perfect storm when combined with our evergreen catalogue.
“This is an important move in the evolution of Hipgnosis Songs in our ability to deliver on the promise of Song Management not only globally but now in the heart of the world’s biggest music market.”