Round Hill’s new royalty fund has announced it expects to IPO on the London Stock Exchange on Friday and has raised $282 million ahead of the flotation, well short of the $375 million goal the company announced last month, according to a report in Music Business Worldwide.
A rep for the company declined Variety’s request for comment as it is a U.K. listing and the U.S. is a jurisdiction “in which the publication, distribution or release of this announcement would be unlawful.”
According to an announcement last month, the fund intends to purchase a portfolio of 120,000 songs from 40 catalogs by artists including the Beatles, Celine Dion and the Rolling Stones. The value of song catalogs has been on the rise since streaming services took hold in the 2010s, and has accelerated dramatically in the past two years, thanks in no small part to Hipgnosis Songs, which launched on the LSE in July of 2018 and has since spent more than $1 billion on catalogs; last week it acquired some 33,000 songs from a Kobalt fund in a $323 million deal.
Commenting on the IPO, Trevor Bowen, Chair of Round Hill Music Royalty Fund Ltd said: “I am delighted to announce the successful IPO of Round Hill Music Royalty Fund Ltd. When considered against the global turbulence prevalent during the IPO process due to Covid-19, this achievement clearly demonstrates a strong investor appetite for both the music royalty asset class, the performance of which is highly uncorrelated to movements in the global economy, and the recognised expertise of the Round Hill team as an investment manager in this sector.”
Josh Gruss, CEO of Round Hill, said, “All of us at Round Hill are very pleased with and encouraged by the strong level of support for the IPO of Round Hill Music Royalty Fund Ltd. “This marks the next stage in Round Hill’s development in London, a market with sophisticated investors that understand music royalties and the potential from this asset class. We look forward to working closely with the Board in maximising returns for new investors.”
Round Hill was founded a decade ago by former Bear Stearns banker Josh Gruss, who had previously worked at Sony Music and Atlantic Records. In 2012, it bought the US rights to six early Beatles songs, including “She Loves You” and “I Saw Her Standing There,” and bought Carlin Music — which includes more than 100,000 copyrights as well as the Elvis Presley catalog — in 2018 for $245 million. It has also acquired rights to songs by Bruno Mars, Rob Thomas, James Brown, AC/DC, Florida Georgia Line and others, and catalogs from of The Offspring and Bush (whose catalog is co-owned by the company alongside the band’s frontman, Gavin Rossdale).
In addition to its New York HQ, Round Hill runs additional offices in Nashville, Los Angeles and London. In 2017, it acquired a majority stake in the sync operation, Zync, which is now its in-house sync division.