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Owner of a Lonely Heart and Bad Boys II theme sold in music catalogue deal

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Trevor Rabin of progressive rock group Yes performing live on stage. Photo: Getty Images
Trevor Rabin of progressive rock group Yes performing live on stage. Photo: Getty Images

Private equity firm Round Hill Music Royalty Fund Limited (RHM.L) said on Wednesday it has acquired a major music publishing catalogue from Trevor Rabin, the guitarist for English prog rock band Yes. 

The catalogue of 3,528 scores and songs includes hits from Rabin's Yes days, such as Owner of a Lonely Heart, and music from films including Bad Boys II, Armageddon, Enemy of the State, National Treasure and Remember The Titans.

“We believe this is a particularly attractive area in which to be increasing our exposure, as film and TV performance revenues continue to increase in value,” said Josh Gruss, chairman and CEO of Round Hill, the the company's investment manager.

"I know my music will be in good hands with their [Round Hill’s] leading team of industry professionals who are so passionate about this catalogue,” said Rabin.

Rabin is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Yes and has sold over 20 million albums worldwide. He also worked with major Hollywood producers and scored over 40 feature films.

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The acquisition includes the publisher's share and writer's share of the relevant copyright interests, as well as administrative control, which enables Round Hill to control the sync licensing of the catalogue rights.

"We are delighted to announce this first open market acquisition for the company since its IPO, and this demonstrates Round Hill's ability to execute on its near-term pipeline of copyrights,” said Trevor Bowen, chair of RHMS.

“The company's investment pipeline remains extensive with a number of near-term opportunities in exclusivity."

The value of the deal was not disclosed.

Earlier in the year Round Hill had said it wants to launch a share sale to fund $120m worth of planned acquisitions. It had also raised nearly $300m in November 2020 to fund intellectual property investment plans.

Musicians have seen their income take a hit as there have been almost no concerts in the last year and a half, amid the pandemic and lockdown restrictions.

A drop in income, combined with growing investor interest in music back catalogues, has led to a string of sales of music rights and catalogues among top artists. 

London-listed Hipgnosis (SONG.L) has been the most prolific acquirer. Its most recent deal was for the back catalogue of Fleetwood Mac member Christine McVie. Other music juggernauts who have sold off all or portions of their catalogue over the last few years include Bob Dylan, Taylor Swift, Stevie Nicks and Neil Young.

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