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REPORT: SONY CIRCLING QUEEN CATALOG IN $1B DEAL

According to a Bloomberg report, Sony Music is in discussions to acquire Queen's publishing and recorded-music rights in a blockbuster deal that could potentially total $1b.

We're told longtime Queen lawyer Jim Beach and his daughter Tilda are representing surviving Queen members Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon, as well as the estate of late frontman Freddie Mercury. Meanwhile, law firm Reed Smith LLP has set up a new U.K. financial vehicle appropriately named "Rock Bidco," the sole director of which just happens to be Sony Music Publishing U.K. exec Tim Major.

The question remains: How much longer do the extant Universal Music Group and Disney Music Group licensing deals run for the Queen catalog, which is a perpetual cash cow thanks to astute sync licenses and such showcases as the Oscar-winning 2018 film Bohemian Rhapsody. According to a 2002 filing, Queen earned more than $50m that fiscal year.

Disney's UMG-distributed Hollywood Records owns North American recorded rights for the catalog, while the band itself owns them worldwide through their company Queen Productions Ltd and distributes its music through UMG. Queen Productions Ltd also owns global rights to the band's music-publishing catalog, which is already administered by Sony Music Publishing.

Per the Financial Times, Universal allowed a negotiating exclusivity period to expire because Queen's proposed price was too high.

If Queen manages to fetch its desired number, it will have scored a payday far in excess of the $500m Sony paid for Bruce Springsteen's catalog in 2021 and the company's more recent acquisition of half the Michael Jackson catalog for another $600m.

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