Warner Bros. Discovery (NASDAQ: WBD) is reportedly exploring a possible $1 billion sale of its music library, including the soundtracks to a multitude of superhero films.
Word of the rumored song-rights sale from Warner Bros. Discovery came to light in a recent report from the Financial Times. In detailing the HBO, DC Entertainment, and CNN owner’s purported pursuit of an IP-fueled payday, the outlet cited information provided by anonymous sources who claim to have knowledge of the matter.
While the potential transaction’s specifics (including possible buyers and the exact scope of the deal) are currently unclear as a result, Warner Bros. Discovery president and CEO David Zaslav is said to be considering the catalog sale amid a broader effort to reduce his company’s substantial debt.
Besides posting a $2.31 billion loss for Q3 2022, the business indicated that its gross debt had totaled $50.4 billion as of September 30th. Also in terms of pertinent (albeit implied) background information, Time Warner’s 2004 sale of Warner Music excluded a number of copyrights.
But said anonymous sources have communicated that the hunt for an IP windfall remains in the early stages. And in one potential hurdle, the FT relayed that the selling party would insist on “stipulations over access to and use of certain soundtracks.”
Of course, it bears noting that the aforementioned $1 billion sale price likewise derived from an anonymous source, who logic suggests may not be entirely objective. Furthermore, though there’s no telling which deals the approaching months will bring, several transactions described by different anonymous sources yet haven’t come to fruition.
Specifically, allegedly well-informed parties have spoken off the record about potential catalog sales from Pink Floyd (the long-rumored deal’s status is now up in the air) and Justin Bieber, neither of which has formally closed. Plus, Spotify hasn’t swooped in to buy Middle Eastern streaming platform Anghami, the stock price of which has surged by almost 30 percent since 2023’s start.
Even so, keeping alive the song-rights sales boom that initiated in 2020, 2023’s opening two weeks have delivered multiple high-profile transactions. Meanwhile, catalog music’s listenership share is reportedly continuing to grow.
Reports this week stated that Dr. Dre had sold his catalog to Universal Music Group and Shamrock Holdings in a reportedly $200 million deal, for instance. And yesterday, contrasting the array of multimillion-dollar IP investments spearheaded by companies, Creedence Clearwater Revival founder John Fogerty bought a majority interest in the rights to his own songs from Concord.