Sony Music in talks to buy Queen’s music catalog for $1 billion

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Sony Music has created a financial vehicle called “Rock Bidco” as part of the record company’s bid for British rock band Queen’s music catalogue, which is expected to fetch a reported $1 billion.

“Rock Bidco” was incorporated on May 17 and is controlled by Tim Major, co-director of Sony Music Publishing, according to a document filed with Companies House in the United Kingdom.

Queen had been shopping its music catalog for more than a year and had held talks with Sony Music and rival Universal Music, according to people familiar with the matter. Sony was still among the bidders, while Universal had let an exclusivity period expire in negotiations because the price the band wanted was too high, these people said.

The band, once led by the late Freddie Mercury, is seeking a valuation of more than $1 billion, which would make it one of the biggest music sellers in recent memory. This would include recorded music and publishing, as well as other income, including merchandise and licensing, and income from the biopic. Bohemian Rhapsody.

Under the proposed structure, Sony would be working with another company to finance the Queen deal, a person familiar with the matter said.

Sony co-financed its blockbuster $500 million-plus acquisition of Bruce Springsteen’s catalog with Eldridge Industries, Todd Boehly’s investment house.

Music rights, which generate a steady stream of income based on record sales and streaming revenue, have become a popular asset class in recent years. Rock stars like Bob Dylan, Springsteen and Neil Young have cashed in on the interest in the music industry, selling their life’s work for huge profits.

Kiss, the flamboyant American rock band, last month sold the rights to its music, as well as its name, image and likeness to Pophouse Entertainment for $300 million.

Queen is one of the most commercially successful groups in music history, having sold more than 300 million records worldwide. The success of the band Bohemian Rhapsody is among the most streamed rock songs, while the 2018 biopic boosted listening and sales of his music.

Billboard estimates that Queen’s music generates about $45 million a year in royalty income.

A Sony Music spokesperson declined to comment.

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