by Jem Aswad at variety.com
Warner Bros. Discovery is negotiating to sell around half of the storied Warner studio’s film and TV music-publishing assets for approximately $500 million, three sources confirm to Variety. The news was first reported by Hits.
While it is unclear exactly which assets are on the table, one source says that the rights to “slightly less than half” of the catalog, with a price of around $500 million, are likely to go to a major label, with Sony said to be in the lead. The catalog is believed to include music from such films as “Purple Rain,” “Evita,” “Sweeney Todd,” “Rent” several “Batman” films and many more titles, as well as songs included in films such as “As Time Goes By” from “Casablanca” — iconic titles to be sure, but again, it is unclear exactly which rights are in play. Top attorney Allen Grubman is said to be overseeing the deal for Warner Discovery CEO David Zaslav.
However, some observers cast a skeptical eye on the deal, saying that many of the company’s assets are more than a half-century old and are “declining” in value and difficult to exploit. They are said to consist largely of film themes and cues — with comparatively few conventional songs — that would seem to have little familiarity or resonance in the present or future. The catalog is currently under a multi-year administration deal with Universal Music Publishing.
Reps for Warner Discovery, Sony and Universal either declined or did not respond to Variety‘s requests for comment.read more