Fancy owning a collecting society anyone? Well, SESAC is for sale if you’ve got a spare half billion. The owners of America’s third publishing rights body have been considering selling the organisation on and off for a few years now, but according to the New York Post have now hired bankers at Allen & Co and Goldman Sachs to actively pursue a sale. The asking price is reportedly $500 million, somewhat lower than prices previously suggested by the current owners.
Unlike BMI and ASCAP, the two better known rights organisations that represent American songwriters and music publishers (and, for that matter, their UK counterpart PRS For Music), SESAC is a profit-making company. It represents a smaller roster of artists, but on that roster are some key American songwriters, including Bob Dylan, and some important songs, meaning that most music TV and radio stations can’t afford not to be licensed by the firm.
Various private equity outfits are expected to discuss taking ownership of the rights agency, though the Post reports that Warner Music has also expressed an interest. That said, Warner taking ownership of the rights body might cause concern amongst some of the songwriters and publishers it represents, Warner itself being a music publisher, so some commentators reckon that deal wouldn’t go ahead, even if there really was interest on the major’s part.