Hipgnosis reveals £500m spending spree, signs Jeff Bhasker catalogue

Hipgnosis reveals £500m spending spree, signs Jeff Bhasker catalogue

Hipgnosis Songs has published its interim results for the six months up to September 30, 2019.

Up to that date, the company had invested £319.4 million through the acquisition of 27 catalogues, resulting in interests in 7,475 songs.

Since September 30, Hipgnosis has invested a further £186.1m in some big catalogues including Timbaland’s, taking the total to 42 (11,225 songs). It brings the total spend to £505.5m. The company has targeted acquisitions of £1bn, as revealed by Music Week.

Net revenue increased to £22.6m for the six-month period, up from £7.2m in the previous results to March 2019 – a result ahead of management expectations.

Adjusted operating profit before tax increased to £14.1m, up from £3m in the previous results.

For the six months to September 30, Hipgnosis reported a fair value increase on acquisition cost of £25.4m (7.9%), of which £15.6m has been driven by like-for-like increases excluding the impact of currency fluctuation. 

The company’s latest acquisition is the catalogue of Jeff Bhasker, co-writer of Mark Ronson’s Uptown Funk. He’s also co-written with Bruno Mars, Alicia Keys, Rihanna, Jay-Z, Kanye West and Ed Sheeran. Bhasker was previously with UMPG.

In coordination with Bhasker’s management company, Crescent Drive Productions, and its founder Neil Jacobson, Hipgnosis has acquired 100% of Bhasker’s interest in his catalogue, which comprises 436 songs.

Merck Mercuriadis, founder of The Family (Music) Limited and Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited, said:  “You would be hard pressed to name a creator of the last 20 years that is more important than Jeff. He has been an essential part of amongst the most culturally important and commercially successful recordings of our time with Kanye West, Bruno Mars, Rihanna, Ed Sheeran, Mark Ronson, Drake, Jay Z, Beyoncé, Harry Styles, Alicia Keys, The Rolling Stones, Pink, Eminem, Taylor Swift, Lana Del Ray and so many others he has rewritten the rule book on how art makes it to No. 1. I am ecstatic to welcome Jeff and Neil into the Hipgnosis family.” 

Jacobson said:“Merck is an art collector with a keen eye for masterpieces rather than say a commodities guy who is just valuing income streams. I realize when you zoom out they probably are pretty close to the same thing but it makes a difference to me and to my artists to know that whoever is acquiring this great music understands it and loves it.”

This week Hipgnosis moved into master rights with the acquisition of Kaiser Chiefs’ recordings.

In his report, Andrew Sutch, Hipgnosis chairman, noted the impending launch of a streaming service by ByteDance

“The songs we have acquired by The Chainsmokers, Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Camilla Cabello, Shawn Mendes and Justin Bieber are particularly important in this space,” he said.

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