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Justin Timberlake has sold his song catalogue to Hipgnosis Song Management and a fund backed by the private equity firm Blackstone in a deal thought to be worth just over $100m (£75.5m).
Hipgnosis offers investors the chance to make money from the royalties of popular songs by artists from Barry Manilow to Beyoncé. It teamed up with Blackstone last year to launch a private vehicle called Hipgnosis Songs Capital. With $1bn of initial funding from Blackstone, it was set up to acquire music rights and manage catalogues. The private equity firm also took a stake in Hipgnosis.
The deal with Timberlake gives Hipgnosis Songs Capital full control and ownership over his interest in 200 songs he has written or co-written during his career with the boyband ‘NSync and as a solo artist. He first came to prominence in 1995 as one of the two lead singers in ‘NSync, whose albums have sold 70m copies worldwide. As a solo artist, he has eclipsed those sales, with 88m copies of his albums sold globally.
Merck Mercuriadis, the founder and chief executive of Hipgnosis, said: “Justin Timberlake is not only one of the most influential artists of the last 20 years but he’s also one of the greatest songwriters of all time. His hit songs including Cry Me a River, Rock Your Body, SexyBack, My Love, What Goes Around… Comes Around, Suit & Tie, Mirrors and Can’t Stop the Feeling are amongst the most iconic of the period.”
Timberlake said: “I am excited to be partnering with Merck and Hipgnosis – he values artists and their creative work and has always been a strong supporter of songwriters and storytelling.”
It is the third deal Hipgnosis Songs Capital has stuck so far this year. In March, it bought Leonard Cohen’s share of his songwriting catalogue from the late singer’s estate. In January, it acquired an 80% stake in the recorded music royalty stream of the the country singer-songwriter Kenny Chesney.
Hipgnosis Songs Capital is separate from Hipgnosis Songs Fund, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange.