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Sony/ATV Music Publishing is auctioning off the rights to the Virgin Music catalog, reports Reuters. Some 30,000 songs, the bulk of which were hits in the 1980s and 1990s, from such artists as Culture Club, Tears for Fears, Fine Young Cannibals and Iggy Pop comprise the library, which also includes Famous U.K.
Sources say non-disclosure agreements sent out last week to more than 20 potential buyers, including Warner Music Group and Primary Wave Music signaling the start of the bidding process and the disclosure of key financial data.
Publishing has emerged as one of the few growing profit centers for a beleaguered music business. Reuters cites an anticipated value of $150 million for the deal, the sale of which was among the divestitures required by regulators in order for Sony/ATV to complete its $2.2 billion acquisition of EMI Music Publishing in June.
Veteran attorney John Branca, who manages the Michael Jackson estate and has represented the likes of Aerosmith and The Rolling Stones, is running the auction on behalf of Sony/ATV.
No official comment was offered by any of the parties.
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