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Blackstone strikes chord with $1.6 billion bid for UK music firm

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Struggling UK music rights owner Hipgnosis Songs Fund agreed Monday to an improved $1.6-billion takeover from US private equity firm Blackstone, which trumped a rival bid from Concord.

The announcement is the latest twist in a bidding war which last week saw US music group Concord ramp up its offer to beyond Blackstone’s previous bid for Hipgnosis, whose catalogue includes Justin Bieber, Shakira and Neil Young.

Hipgnosis and Blackstone “are pleased to announce that they have reached agreement on the terms and conditions of a recommended cash acquisition”, the pair said in a statement.

They added: “The terms of the acquisition (from Blackstone) represent an attractive premium for Hipgnosis shareholders over the terms of the Concord revised offer.

“Accordingly the Hipgnosis shareholders are urged to take no action in respect of the Concord offer.”

Blackstone has lifted its takeover offer from $1.24 per share to $1.30 per share, valuing HSF at about $1.57 billion.

That was also higher than Concord’s $1.25-per-share bid, worth $1.5 billion, which had been recommended by management when it was announced last Wednesday. However, this recommendation has now been withdrawn.

“Blackstone appears to have emerged supreme in the bidding war for the Hipgnosis Songs Fund,” commented Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at Hargreaves Lansdown.

“It’ll be fresh music to the ears for shareholders, who have seen their holdings jump in value as the bids sailed in.”

HSF chair Robert Naylor added Monday that the board was “delighted” to unanimously recommend the Blackstone deal, which is expected to be finalised in the third quarter.

Hipgnosis — co-founded in 2018 by guitarist and producer Nile Rodgers and Merck Mercuriadis, the former manager of Beyonce and Elton John — manages the rights to more than 150 of the world’s biggest song catalogues.

But the London-listed fund, which has been plagued by concerns over asset valuations, recently slashed the value of its songs catalogue by more than a quarter to $1.93 billion.

That came after Hipgnosis revealed in December that its first-half net losses tripled on tumbling sales.


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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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