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Hipgnosis: “Minded” to go with Blackstone in takeover battle if £1.2bn bid firms up

Hipgnosis owns the rights to thousands of high-profile artists.: (L-R) John McVie, Mick Fleetwood, Mike Campbell, Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie, and Neil Finn of Fleetwood Mac. Hipgnosis has purchased songs from 2 of the principal members of Fleetwood Mac. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)
Hipgnosis owns the rights to thousands of high-profile artists.: (L-R) John McVie, Mick Fleetwood, Mike Campbell, Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie, and Neil Finn of Fleetwood Mac. Hipgnosis has purchased songs from 2 of the principal members of Fleetwood Mac. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)

The board of music giant Hipgnosis has said it would be “minded” to switch horses in a takeover battle should a firm offer from US private equity giant Blackstone arrive.

Last week the board received and recommended a £1.1bn offer from US firm Concord Music.

However the weekend saw Blackstone muscle in on the deal with a £1.2bn offer, the latest in a series of bids.

“The Board, having reviewed the Proposal with its financial adviser, Singer Capital Markets, has indicated to Blackstone that the Proposal is at a value that it would be minded to recommend to its shareholders should Blackstone announce a firm intention to make an offer,” a statement to markets read this morning.

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Concord had valued Hipgnosis Song Fund at $1.4bn (£1.1bn) in its bid last week, but Blackstone floated an offer seven per cent higher.

Blackstone is the majority owner of the trust’s investment adviser Hipgnosis Song Management (HSM), and had made four offers behind the scenes to Hipgnosis, with the most recent one being the highest.

Hipgnosis added this morning that “there can be no certainty that a firm offer will be made for the company by Blackstone, nor as to the terms of any such offer.

“Accordingly, shareholders are advised to take no action at this time with regard to the approach by Blackstone.

“The Hipgnosis Directors continue to recommend unanimously to Hipgnosis shareholders the cash offer by Concord Chorus Limited, an entity indirectly controlled by Alchemy Copyrights LLC. That recommendation has not been withdrawn, qualified or modified.”

On 20 April, Blackstone issued a statement saying it had now made four different offers, the latest being  $1.24 per share in cash.

Both sides of the bidding war will now wait for the UK Takeover Panel to set a date by which Blackstone must make a firm offer for the trust.

When Blackstone floated its offer at the weekend, it also acknowledged a clause in the contract between Hipgnosis and its adviser that on the termination of its investment advisory agreement (IAA), it has a six month window to purchase the trust’s entire portfolio of songs, at the same price offered by Concord.