Mergers & Acquisitions

Sony to Buy a Controlling Stake in EMI

The Japanese conglomerate is paying more than $2 billion for a 60% interest in the music publisher.
William SprouseMay 22, 2018
Sony to Buy a Controlling Stake in EMI

Sony has agreed to buy a 60% stake in EMI Music Publishing from the Mubadala Investment Company, a sovereign wealth fund of the United Arab Emirates, Sony said in a statement Tuesday. The deal brings Sony’s stake in EMI to 90% and is based on an enterprise value for EMI of $4.75 billion.

EMI’s catalogue contains more than two million songs, from Queen and Carole King to Kanye West and Fetty Wap. It generated revenue of $663 million and adjusted EBITDA of $249 million for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2018.

The total cash consideration Sony expects to pay to consolidate EMI is about $2.3 billion.

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David Dai, an analyst at investment bank Bernstein, said Sony was paying a high price for EMI, based on previous comparable deals, according to CNN Money.

“It is a high price to pay for the strategy to shift from hardware to content,” Dai said in a note to clients.

Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida called the deal a “significant milestone” and said Sony was trying to acquire more intellectual property in the entertainment industry. According to CNN, Sony has increased investment in content and shifted away from hardware manufacturing.

“The music business has enjoyed a resurgence over the past couple of years, driven largely by the rise of paid, subscription-based streaming services,” Yoshida said.

The deal brings Sony’s music library to about 4.5 million songs. Last week, the company agreed to buy a stake in the Charlie Brown and Snoopy brand Peanuts for $185 million.

Mubadala had controlled and managed EMI since 2012.

In a statement, Adib Mattar, the head of private equity for Mubadala Capital and chairman of EMI Music Publishing, said: “Writers and artists only stand to benefit under consolidated ownership and should feel proud to be part of the Sony family. … The sale of our consortium’s interest in EMI Music Publishing represents a milestone for Mubadala and our private equity business.”

EMI will become a consolidated subsidiary of Sony, subject to closing conditions and regulatory approvals. The estate of Michael Jackson will continue to own 10% of the publisher.