A 10% stake in Led Zeppelin’s music is for sale. Here’s how it ended up on the market.
The past few years have seen a number of deals struck for rights to music by iconic rock artists.
In January 2022, for example, Warner Music Group, via its Warner Chappell Music subsidiary, acquired the global music publishing rights to David Bowie’s song catalog for more than $250 million.
In December 2021, Bruce Springsteen sold both his masters, and publishing rights to Sony Music Group in a deal worth $550 million-plus.
Now, a 10% stake in the music of iconic British rock band Led Zeppelin is up for sale.
That stake is being sold by Helen Grant, the daughter of the band’s former manager, Peter Grant. The news was first reported by The Times on Monday (July 10), in an interview with Helen Grant.
MBW understands that amongst the companies who approached Helen Grant for a deal prior to going public with the sale was Irving Azoff’s Iconic Artists Group, and that a number of other players have since made offers.
According to The Times article, Peter Grant owned a 20% stake in Led Zeppelin’s music. His children Helen and Warren Grant each inherited 10% of that stake after their father’s death in 1995. Now Helen is selling her share.
London-based New Media Law is the firm handling the sale. Speaking with MBW on Monday, the firm’s Ian Penman confirmed that the deal includes a share of recorded music rights, publishing rights as well as a stake in the rights to the band’s trademarks including name and logo.
“Her father managed Led Zeppelin and owned 20% of the Zeppelin companies,” Penman told MBW. “So [the deal] is quite rare in that respect, because it includes trademarks. It includes the name. The name, Led Zeppelin, is owned by a company that Helen co-owns.”
Led Zeppelin News, an unofficial news site dedicated to the band, reports that “the Grant family own stakes in two businesses within Led Zeppelin’s corporate empire”.
Citing company filings in the UK, Led Zeppelin News notes that one of those businesses includes UK-based Superhype Tapes and that the business was established in 1968 to manage Zeppelin’s publishing, but also owns the global trademarks for the band’s name and logo. Peter Grant’s children Helen and Warren each own 10% of the company, reports Led Zeppelin News, while Jimmy Page owns the remaining 80%.
The other business is UK-registered United Blag Productions, which Led Zeppelin News reports, “appears to be connected to Led Zeppelin’s record label Swan Song and controls the rights to music released on that label”.
Led Zeppelin News adds that, “corporate filings suggest that United Blag Productions was originally split between the four Led Zeppelin band members who each owned 22.5% of the company, and Peter Grant, who owned 10%”.
Speaking with MBW on Monday, New Media Law’s Ian Penman says that Helen Grant “considered selling the rights earlier this year,” and that “a mutual friend suggested to her that she might need the service of a lawyer to help her.” He added: “Fortuitously he recommended me”.
Penman explains further that when Grant originally got the word out that she was considering selling her stake, she was approached with “several offers and extreme interest from some of the biggest names in the business”.
Penman told MBW on Monday that Helen Grant instructed him to manage the sale around three months ago. “We immediately got on. I was a big Zeppelin fan growing up,” he said.
“When I was 17, I had gone to see Zeppelin play at Knebworth, which was the last concert they played with John Bonham [in the UK], and she was at the same gig, a couple of years younger than me, but was backstage with her dad. We both talked about what an incredible concert it was, and how we were both extremely lucky to have been at it. So we had this kind of mutual bonding on that.”
Penman says he “persuaded [Helen Grant] to go public” with the sale, because “we want to make sure that everyone that’s out there that might be interested, is aware of this, because it’s such an iconic [deal].”
He added: “[Deals like this] just never happen really. And especially on one of your all-time favorite bands. It’s a dream world to be involved with the story at all.”
Penman confirmed that talks are still ongoing with several interested parties.
“Nobody has pulled out, and nor should they. Nor would they,” he said. “This is an iconic, one-off [deal].”Music Business Worldwide