Sat. May 25th, 2024

Concord Bows Out of Bidding War for Hipgnosis Songs Fund, Blackstone Poised to Take Over

By Michael May 9, 2024

Blackstone looked poised to take over Hipgnosis Songs Fund (HSF) on Thursday after Concord Music said it would not outbid the global investment firm.

Concord surprised Blackstone and the broader market on April 18 when it announced it had the unanimous support of HSF’s directors to take over the troubled music royalty fund for £0.93 ($1.14), a bid that valued the company at $1.402 billion.

Concord once raised its offer to $1.25 per share, but Blackstone stole the board’s endorsement when it made it a superior offer that valued the company at $1.6 billion on April 29. Concord said Thursday that its last offer was final and will not be increased, effectively bowing out of the bidding war.

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While Blackstone’s bid still needs approval from 75% of Hipgnosis Songs Fund shares, it has been the most likely buyer for shareholders looking for an offramp from the 5-year-old fund’s tumultuous last six months.

Hipgnosis Songs Fund’s assets, which include stakes in the catalogs of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Neil Young, Journey, Lindsey Buckingham, Blondie and others, are prized by its investors and rival music companies, but the fund has been plagued by management and accounting missteps that overstated both revenue and its portfolio’s valuation, according to a due diligence report by investment bank Shot Tower Capital released March 28. HSF’s share price plummeted after its board cancelled the dividend and slashed the value of its portfolio.

Blackstone already owns two other entities under the Hipgnosis name — the private music assets investment fund Hipgnosis Songs Capital (HSC) and the the Merck Mercuriadis-led investment advisor Hipgnosis Song Management (HSM) .

An option in HSM’s contract effectively makes Hipgnosis Songs Fund Blackstone’s to lose. The option, which dates back to the fund’s initial public offering in July 2018, stipulates that the entity that Blackstone owns could match any take-over offer for the fund’s assets, a clause intended to give artists confidence their song rights and royalties would not frequently change hands.

HSF’s board will meet in June and is expected to hold a shareholder vote to approve Blackstone’s bid, with a deal ultimately coming to a close possibly in mid-July.

By Michael

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