Sony Corp. has held preliminary talks to acquire a majority stake in EMI Music Publishing, according to Bloomberg News sources, as its Abu Dhabi-based owner seeks to cash in on the booming market for streamed music.
Mubadala Investment Co. has begun reaching out to potential suitors for the catalogue of more than 2.1 million songs, which includes hits from Beyoncé and Carole King, the news org reports. The Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund has held talks with Sony and approached other possible buyers, including entertainment groups and potential financial bidders, the people said.
Adding EMI’s extensive catalogue would solidify Sony’s position as the largest music publisher, as paid streaming services proliferate and valuations for music copyrights soar. The Tokyo-based company already owns almost 40 percent of EMI and operates the business.
Mubadala is seeking a valuation of at least US$4 billion for EMI, according to Bloomberg sources – almost double what the Sony-led group, which also includes billionaire David Geffen, paid for the business six years ago. A sale may be the largest music-industry transaction since the last time EMI changed hands.
Sony/ATV is already the world’s largest music publisher and has been No. 1 in market share in every quarter except one over the past five years, falling second to Warner/Chappell during one quarter in 2017.
Len Blavatnik, whose Access Industries owns Warner Music Group, is also reportedly an interested participant.