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Warner Bros. Discovery Sells Music Publishing Assets For $500 million

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Three sources reveal to Variety, an entertainment website, that Warner Bros. Discovery is attempting to sell about half of the illustrious Warner studio’s film and television music publishing assets for around $500 million. Hits was the first to break the news.

It’s unclear exactly what assets are up for negotiation, but one source claims that a major label will likely acquire the rights to “slightly less than half” of the catalogue for about $500 million, with Sony reportedly leading the pack. The collection is thought to contain songs from films like “As Time Goes By” from “Casablanca,” “Purple Rain,” “Evita,” “Sweeney Todd,” “Rent,” and numerous “Batman” flicks, among many more. Uncertainty persists over the actual rights at issue despite the presence of several legendary titles. For Warner Discovery CEO David Zaslav, the deal is reportedly being managed by renowned attorney Allen Grubman.

Some commentators, however, have expressed scepticism regarding the transaction, claiming that many of the company’s assets are older than 50 years, “declining” in value, and challenging to exploit. With relatively few traditional songs, they are believed to primarily consist of film motifs and cues that don’t seem to be particularly well-known or having much resonance now or in the future. A multi-year administration agreement with Universal Music Publishing now governs the collection.

If the reports are true, the deal would be a relief for the company and its investors during a turbulent time that has seen 100 layoffs across its Discovery and Turner brands (with more anticipated in the coming months), a writers strike that has crippled Hollywood, and Zaslav’s recent firing of his personally chosen CNN CEO Chris Licht after just one year, as well as the network’s contentious town hall with former president Donald Trump.

The proceeds from a sale like this, which would occur at the height of a still-booming market for music catalogues, would aid the corporation in paying down its $49.5 billion in debt.

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