Sony Music acquires AWAL and Kobalt neighboring Rights in a $430M deal

Sony Music acquires AWAL and Kobalt neighboring Rights in a $430M deal
Sony Music, a leading American global music firm under the Sony Corporation of America conglomerate, has reportedly inked a new definitive agreement to procure AWAL, the independent distribution as well as label division of Kobalt Music Group, and its neighboring rights unit, both companies announced the new deal on Monday, Feb 1, 2021.

According to reports, The proposed deal, which would still need to obtain regulatory approval to go through, would see Sony Music pay over $430 million to Kobalt Music Group. The deal would be subject to conventional working capital as well as other adjustments.

As per the announcement, AWAL as well as the neighboring rights unit would be working as an independent new division, which would be connected to Orchard, the indie distribution arm of Sony which has revenues of over $800 million.

In the financial year that ended March of 2019, AWAL clocked in revenues of over $106.2 million with its neighboring rights unit recording collections of approximately $65 million. If the proposed deal goes through, the indie operations of Sony could have revenues of over $1 billion.

However, because Sony counts these monies under the agency accounting, it only recognizes the distribution fees of Orchard it gathers as revenue under its own reporting. The company is highly likely do the exact same thing for the acquired Kobalt entities.

Rob Stringer, chairman, Sony Music Group stated that the company’s investment in the continued growth of AWAL gives it another service to make available to  the independent music community. Stringer further added that with AWAL’s flexible solutions, which help build the careers of artists, the two companies can together offer more thrilling choices to creators to connect with their respective global audience.

When this takeover deal closes, it would mean that Kobalt would still own its AMRA performing rights organization as well as its music publishing platform, while an independent entity, Kobalt Capital, would work as a Kobalt Music Copyrights Fund II investment adviser. Last November, Kobalt reportedly sold the company’s Music Copyrights Fund 1 for $323 million to Hipgnosis.