Five months back, reports revealed that Warner Bros. Discovery was exploring an over $1 billion sale of its film and TV music library, including (among other IP) the soundtracks behind a number of superhero movies. Now, following some obstacles, the company is reportedly closing in on a comparatively modest $500 million sale.
Word of the rumored half-billion-dollar transaction, which would reportedly cover 50 percent of the catalog, just recently entered the media spotlight. Last time we checked in on the sale effort, anonymous sources with knowledge of the matter relayed that top bids for the song rights at hand had come in at around $1.2 billion – well beneath the $2 billion mark, which Warner Bros. Discovery execs had reportedly been targeting at the outset.
Also complicating the gargantuan deal was the requirement that the purchasing party or parties adhere to certain usage stipulations, sources disclosed. Despite these rumored hiccups and the evidently long sale process, however, the aforesaid $500 million purchase is actively being discussed, per new reports yet.
Specifically, the Max parent “is in negotiations” for the sale, according to Hits, which likewise indicated that the transaction would value the overarching catalog at “north of $1 billion.” As it stands, though, the media conglomerate hasn’t commented publicly on the matter, nor has the identity of the potential buyer(s) been revealed.
But the sale effort is said to represent one component of a broader plan to pay down the debt of Warner Bros. Discovery, which is cutting positions and reportedly exploring the questionable strategy of licensing exclusive HBO programs to Netflix. At the time of this writing, Warner Bros. Discovery stock (NASDAQ: WBD), with a per-share price of $11.78, was down almost three percent from yesterday’s close.
Back to the catalog side, more than a few music-IP sales are continuing to wrap notwithstanding today’s economic uncertainty, and evidence suggests that capital will keep on reaching the space for the foreseeable future.
To be sure, the likes of MusicBird, Cutting Edge Media Music, Larrosa Music Group, Armada Music’s BEAT, Beyond Music, and Lyric Capital have already committed to spending a cumulative total of billions on IP moving forward.
Late February saw the latter entity unveil an $800 million catalog fund, and towards April’s conclusion, Lyric co-founder Ross Cameron communicated that his business was “working on closing multiple transactions which range from $10 million to $250 million.” Additionally, besides acquiring Jason Aldean’s body of work in 2022, the Spirit Music Group owner Lyric is said to have dropped $130 million on the masters and publishing of a “renowned” (but not publicly identified) singer-songwriter in 2021.