Sony/ATV (Michael Jackson) is said to be worth $30 billion
The King of Pop was no “Fool on the Hill” when
he invested in the music publishing business.
Sony/ATV Music Publishing,
jointly owned by singer Michael Jackson and Sony Corporation of America, is one
of the top publishing firms in the world. It is home to more than 750,000 copyrights by such artists as Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison, Linda Perry, Richie
Sambora, Shakira, Diane Warren and Hank Williams, among others including more than 250 compositions recorded by The Beatles.
Its growing current roster of chart-topping artists includes Akon,
Sara Bareilles, the Jonas Brothers, Kenny Chesney, Flo Rida, Lady GaGa,
Rascal Flatts and Taylor Swift . The last time
Sony/ATV was valued, it was said to be worth $30 Billion.
ATV Music was once the publishing arm of Lord Lew
Grade’s UK media empire, Associated Television (ATV). It had acquired Northern
Songs (the Beatles’ publishing business) in 1969.
Mr. Jackson acquired the Beatles catalog in 1985
when he bought ATV Music for about $47 million from Australian tycoon Robert
Holmes à Court. He sold a 50% stake in the business to Sony for $150 million in
1995. Sony also contributed its existing publishing business to the new
venture, forming Sony/ATV.
Other collections include the country catalogs
of Acuff-Rose and Tree Publishing. The company
acquired the Acuff-Rose catalog (featuring classics from Hank Williams and Roy
Orbison) in 2002 for $157 million from Gaylord Entertainment.
Sony/ATV expanded its business in 2007 with
the acquisition of publisher Famous Music from Viacom. The deal was worth some
$370 million, and added 125,000 songs and sound cues to Sony/ATV’s catalog.
Famous songs include classics such as ‘Footloose,’ ‘Moon River,’ and ‘Take My
The growing company also scored a hit when it
acquired the catalogue of award-winning songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike
Stoller in 2007 for some $45 million. The Leiber Stoller catalogue contains more
than 40 Top 40 hits, including “Stand By Me”, “Poison Ivy”, and “Love Potion
#9”, as well as several songs made famous by Elvis Presley (“Hound Dog”,
CEO Martin Bandier, formerly an executive at EMI
Group, is leading a focus on Sony/ATV’s most valuable asset, its collection of
Beatles songs. The company had historically resisted licensing Beatles
recordings for commercial use, but in 2008 Bandier announced that he favored
licensing Beatles songs for things that haven’t been licensed in the past —
under certain circumstances.
Sony/ATV licenses its songs for use in movies,
television, and advertising and collects royalties for its songwriters. It has
offices in about 40 countries.
Michael Jackson and Sony enter joint publishing venture valued at $600 million
Jet Nov.27th 1995
Megastar Michael Jackson has merged his music catalog with Sony
Corp.’s music publishing division in a joint venture reportedly valued
at $600 million.
music catalog, ATV Music Publishing, includes some 250 Beatles songs as
well as songs associated with Elvis Presley and Little Richard.
Sony/ATV Music Publishing will include all of the current and future music publishing interests of both parties.
The Sony catalog includes songs by such Sony recording artists as Mariah Carey, Sade, Bob Dylan and Neil Diamond.
Jackson’s music catalog includes such Beatles tunes as Come Together, We Can Work It Out, Hey Jude and Yesterday.
Jackson’s own songs were not included in the deal, Sony said.
said in a press statement: “The merging of ATV with Sony establishes
our commitment to create one of the largest music publishing ventures
in the world. We have been working on this for over a year and, now,
with the two of us together, the sky is our only limit.”
denied rumors that he made the merger deal with Sony because he is
having financial problems during an interview with USA Today. “This
acquistion had nothing to do with needing funds,” Jackson said. “It’s
just a great move, a corporate, entrepreneurial thing to do. It’s smart
business. It’s about growth. Everything in life to me is about growth.”
P. Schulhof, president and CEO, Sony Corporation of America, said:
“Michael Jackson is not only the most successful entertainer in
history; he is also an astute businessman. Michael understands the
importance of copyrights and the role they play in the introduction of
new technologies. In joining us for this new venture, Michael
recognizes Sony’s leadership in developing and realizing new
technologies that serve to expand the creative horizons of artists such