Concord Officially Calls Off Bid for Hipgnosis Songs Fund

Concord confirmed on Thursday it will no longer proceed with its $1.51 billion offer to buy Hipgnosis Songs Fund, giving rival bidder Blackstone a now unimpeded path to acquire the Merck Mercuriadis-founded company and its catalogs of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Journey, Neil Young and others.

The filing with the London Stock Exchange, which stated that Concord has been released from the terms of its bid, was expected after the Nashville-based music company said it would not raise its offer to compete with Blackstone’s $1.57 billion bid announced on April 29.

Nonetheless, it means the $1-trillion global asset manager Blackstone is poised to take over the groundbreaking publicly traded Hipgnosis fund, adding it to a growing portfolio of music companies that includes music rights organization SESAC, MNRK Music Group, and two other entities under the Hipgnosis name.

Concord and the board of Hipgnosis Songs Fund (HSF) surprised Blackstone and the broader market on April 18 with a $1.4 billion takeover bid, which the HSF board endorsed. While Blackstone initially scrambled, first floating a bid to acquire HSF for $1.24 a share which Concord topped a few days later bidding $1.25 per share.

But Blackstone not only won the support of HSF’s board of directors with its latest $1.30-per-share bid, the investment giant always had the upper hand due to an option to match or outbid any HSF takeover offer. Blackstone owns a majority stake in Hipgnosis Song Management (HSM), HSF’s investment advisor. In an agreement dating back to HSF’s 2018 initial public offering, it was stipulated that the investment advisor could match or beat any takeover bid for HSF — an option that was meant to give artists confidence their catalogs would not be resold.

Blackstone also owns a private investment fund called Hipgnosis Songs Capital. The investment advisor Hipgnosis Song Management advises both that private fund and the public HSF.

Hipgnosis Songs Fund investors will vote on the takeover bid at an upcoming meeting. At least 75% of shares are required to be voted in favor of the deal for it to be adopted.

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