BMI ‘in discussions with outside parties’ after scrapping sale plans in 2022
Yesterday (July 25), Reuters reported that US performance rights company BMI (Broadcast Music Inc.) is “once again exploring options including a sale”.
The report arrived around a year after BMI scrapped plans for a multi-billion dollar company sale following underwhelming offers.
Citing sources, Bloomberg reported at the time that the music rights collection firm set a price tag of up to $2 billion or $3 billion for certain potential buyers and that BMI executives had hoped to sell for at least $1.5 billion.
BMI enlisted Goldman Sachs as an advisor in March 2022 to help review strategic opportunities.
Citing people familiar with the matter on Tuesday, Reuters reported that BMI has turned to Goldman Sachs again “for guidance as it fields interest from potential acquirers, including private equity firms”.
BMI President & CEO Mike O’Neill issued a memo to staff yesterday addressing “press articles [that] have come out today speculating that BMI is considering a sale”.
In the memo, obtained by MBW, O’Neill writes that, “Not surprisingly, interest in BMI has continued since we announced a year ago that we were no longer considering a sale of our company”.
He added: “Since then, the success of our business model change and our commitment to investing in BMI to grow the value of our affiliates’ music has only intensified that outside interest.”
That business model change O’Neill is referring to arrived in October, when BMI revealed that its not-for-profit business model, under which it had operated since the PRO was founded in 1939, was changing to a for-profit model.
The news was announced by the company in a post published to BMI’s website, which included a note sent by BMI President & CEO Mike O’Neill to the organization’s affiliates.
Within his note, O’Neill wrote that the decision to change BMI’s business model comes “after a comprehensive and careful assessment on how best to position our company for the future”.
He argued that the move “will open up new and important opportunities for us to invest in our business”.
Added O’Neill: “Simply put, growth for BMI means growth for our affiliates. And most importantly, our goal is to continue to increase our royalty distributions at an even greater rate than we have before.”
In the memo sent to BMI staff on Tuesday, O’Neill added that, “delivering for our affiliates is always our top priority, and we have a responsibility to engage in discussions with outside parties if they can help further that mission”.
He added: “That is exactly what we are doing right now, and no final decisions have been made.”
You can read O’Neill’s memo to BMI staff in full below:
A few press articles have come out today speculating that BMI is considering a sale. I am reaching out now because I want you to hear the background directly from me.
Not surprisingly, interest in BMI has continued since we announced a year ago that we were no longer considering a sale of our company. You may recall this was one of the options on the table when we were evaluating strategic opportunities to best position BMI for the future. Since then, the success of our business model change and our commitment to investing in BMI to grow the value of our affiliates’ music has only intensified that outside interest.
Delivering for our affiliates is always our top priority, and we have a responsibility to engage in discussions with outside parties if they can help further that mission. That is exactly what we are doing right now, and no final decisions have been made. By its very nature, speculation can often contain mischaracterizations and inaccurate information. Please don’t be distracted by this and know that I will update you directly on any new developments.
It’s an exciting time for BMI and we’re in a strong position. And the most important thing for us to do is keep focus and continue the great work that makes BMI the best PRO in the business. The future is filled with potential and there is no better team to tackle the numerous opportunities that lie ahead for our company and our affiliates.
Thank you, as always, for all you do.Music Business Worldwide