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Why the ’80/20 rule’ will probably be essential to Hipgnosis’ mission to purchase music catalogs in future

Why the ’80/20 rule’ will probably be essential to Hipgnosis’ mission to purchase music catalogs in future

Why the ’80/20 rule’ will be crucial to Hipgnosis’ mission to buy music catalogs in future

The MBW Evaluate is the place we goal our microscope in direction of a few of the music biz’s greatest current goings-on. This time, we get into the nitty gritty of Hipgnosis’s plan to combine Blackstone’s billions alongside its current, publicly traded, Hipgnosis Songs Fund. The MBW Evaluate is supported by Instrumental.


Hipgnosis Songs Fund (HSF) has had an excellent few days. The UK-listed firm noticed its share value hit an all-time peak on Friday (November 19), giving it a market cap worth of round USD $2.1 billion.

This milestone was reached in the identical week that funding financial institution Stifel (whose criticisms of HSF prior to now have grabbed monetary media headlines) quietly upgraded the fund’s inventory from ‘Unfavourable’ to ‘Maintain’.

(Up to now, Stifel’s pessimism over Hipgnosis has been one thing of a bête noire for the music firm amongst a usually rosier outlook from different analysts; a shift in its place is due to this fact a big transfer.)

Extra excellent news for HSF shareholders was delivered on the UK-listed firm’s Capital Markets Day final Wednesday (November 17) by Hipgnosis founder and CEO, Merck Mercuriadis.

For starters, Mercuriadis confirmed that a good portion of the $215 million Hipgnosis Songs Fund raised this summer time (through a share putting) was consequently spent on buying a catalog from the Purple Sizzling Chili Peppers, protecting a plethora of hit songs down the a long time.

Mercuriadis additionally revealed that proceeds from this $215 million increase had moreover been used to purchase – amongst different belongings – the author’s share and writer’s share (plus masters royalty earnings) of Ann Wilson’s stake within the Coronary heart catalog, plus songs from nation star Rhett Akins, and the already-announced acquisition of a catalog from Christine McVie.

There have been, although, necessary questions for Mercuriadis to reply when it got here to Hipgnosis’ new pile of cash – i.e. the billion-dollar sum that Blackstone final month invested in a separate, personal Hipgnosis fund: Hipgnosis Songs Capital.

Earlier than we get into these necessary questions, a reminder of 5 essential items of context:

  1. Hipgnosis Songs Capital (HSC) is a brand new personal fund created by Mercuriadis in partnership with Blackstone, into which Blackstone has dedicated an preliminary billion greenback funding to purchase copyrights. This preliminary billion greenback funding could, in future, improve to a number of billions of {dollars};
  2. Along with the billion {dollars} Blackstone is committing to HSC, the monetary large is additionally investing an unspecified amount of cash in Hipgnosis Track Administration (previously The Household Music) – the entity which not solely strikes Hipgnosis’ acquisition offers, however is additional answerable for maximizing returns from sync licensing, advertising and marketing of catalog and so forth;
  3. As such, Hipgnosis Track Administration has grow to be the funding advisor / ‘track administration’ associate of each Hipgnosis Songs Fund and Hipgnosis Songs Capital. i.e. it now spends cash on offers on behalf of each firms, and works each their catalogs;
  4. After elevating that $215 million sum in June/July this yr, Hipgnosis Songs Fund pledged to its buyers that it wouldn’t be elevating any extra capital on the general public markets till at the very least Q2 2022;
  5. But when Merck Mercuriadis introduced Hipgnosis Songs Capital with Blackstone final month, he stated that Blackstone’s billion-dollar funding was (bolding MBW’s personal) “simply the beginning of a long-term partnership between Blackstone and Hipgnosis that can additionally embody co-investment[s] with SONG“.

That just about brings us on top of things.

The apparent question right here is twofold:

  • If the general public fund (Hipgnosis Songs Fund) has now exhausted its funding capital and gained’t be elevating any extra cash till Q2 2022, how precisely is it going to execute “co-investments” with the Blackstone-backed personal fund (Hipgnosis Songs Capital)?
  • Regardless, why would the Blackstone fund acquiesce to having a separate fund muscle in on its music asset acquisitions in future?

This was all cleared up by Merck Mercuriadis and the Hipgnosis board on the Capital Markets Day final week – and though it’s deep within the weeds, it’s necessary stuff for the way forward for billions-of-dollars-worth of music rights, and the place/how they’re gonna be owned within the years forward.


To assist us clarify, one other neatly numbered record might be worthwhile. On the Capital Markets Day final week, Merck Mercuriadis confirmed/revealed:

  1. Hipgnosis Songs Fund (the general public fund) undoubtedly gained’t increase new capital till summer time or autumn subsequent yr, as agreed with its shareholders;
  2. Hipgnosis Track Administration (the funding advisor to each funds) at the moment has round GBP £2 billion (approx USD $2.7 billion) in offers in its pipeline – offers which, ought to they undergo earlier than subsequent summer time, will probably be fully acquired by Hipgnosis Songs Capital (the personal fund) utilizing Blackstone’s cash;
  3. Nevertheless, as soon as Hipgnosis Songs Fund (the general public fund) is ready to increase extra cash in 2022, its board will have the chance to preview – and purchase into – any offers that the Blackstone fund executes through Hipgnosis Track Administration;
  4. Right here’s the essential bit: Blackstone and the Hipgnosis Songs Capital fund have agreed that, as an ongoing rule, if Hipgnosis Songs Fund needs to co-invest on any of those offers, HSF will purchase 20% of the acquired rights, whereas HSC will purchase the remaining 80%;
  5. Clearly, Hipgnosis Songs Fund’s means to co-invest with Blackstone / Hipgnosis Songs Capital is contingent on the previous firm elevating the required money to take action.

Quizzed by James Moat of Singer Capital Markets, Merck Mercuriadis defined on the Hipgnosis Songs Fund [aka “SONG”] Capital Markets Day how this 80/20 coverage will work in follow.

“At first, [Hipgnosis Songs Fund] and Blackstone each get to see all the pieces that’s within the pipeline,” stated Mercuriadis. “It was crucial to us to make sure we had a coverage that might permit SONG shareholders to be part of all the pieces.

“Definitely what we didn’t need was for there to be any disappointment, when SONG has [the required] cash to take a position, for SONG’s shareholder to show round and say, ‘Maintain on, why didn’t we get entry to [deal X or Y]?’

“This fashion, with the coverage we’ve give you, SONG – when it has cash – has the chance to co-invest in actually all the pieces.”

“This fashion, with the coverage we’ve give you, SONG – when it has [the required] cash – has the chance to co-invest in actually all the pieces.”

Merck Mercuriadis, Hipgnosis

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Mercuriadis famous in the course of the Capital Markets Day that Hipgnosis was hopeful that Blackstone would make investments “many occasions” its preliminary billion-dollar funding in Hipgnosis Songs Capital within the years to return.

He added that there wouldn’t be any change within the acquisition technique for Hipgnosis going ahead, regardless if the cash being spent was from its personal or public fund.


Music trade veteran Paul Burger, a non-executive Director of Hipgnosis Songs Fund, defined: “The [HSF] board had a variety of considerations on behalf of shareholders to insure that going ahead, [HSF] shareholders not solely wouldn’t be deprived because of the Blackstone deal, however really the other – [that we] might make the most of alternatives which will come up that in any other case won’t have been inside [HSF’s spending] means based mostly on the restricted liquid sources we now have.”

“We really feel actually [reassured] that [Hipgnosis Songs Fund] shareholders have the chance to take part in any deal the place we now have sources out there,” stated Burger, including: “Understanding there’s a hard and fast proportion [agreement with Blackstone]… versus get right into a market-type surroundings saying, ‘I would like 10% of this catalog, or 60% of this catalog,’ I believe we’ve taken that every one out of the equation by arising with that 80/20 rule.”

Burger confirmed that there isn’t a “drag and tag” clause between HSF and Hipgnosis Songs Capital, i.e. no clause that might drive HSF to promote its share on the behest of HSC in future.

Burger additional defined that Hipgnosis Songs Fund is eager to “make the most of the profit” of Blackstone’s further funding into Hipgnosis Track Administration; the hope being that as HSM will increase in dimension and scope, this may in flip “drive up income” for Hipgnosis Track Fund’s catalog – on which over USD $2 billion has already been spent.

Mercuriadis advised Hipgnosis Songs Fund shareholders to anticipate the personal/Blackstone fund to fly solo on a variety of offers within the months forward, till the purpose that HSF begins elevating its personal new funds in summer time subsequent yr on the earliest.

“If we take the GBP £2 billion-worth of pipeline we’re working our means by way of for the time being,” stated Mercuriadis, “there isn’t actually something in [there] that we wouldn’t be recommending to SONG and Blackstone if the [public] cash was there.”


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The MBW Evaluate is supported by Instrumental, one of many music trade’s main development groups for unbiased artists. Instrumental makes use of knowledge science to determine the quickest rising unbiased artists on the planet after which supply funding, premium distribution and advertising and marketing assist to take them to the subsequent degree, with out taking their rights.Music Enterprise Worldwide

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