Sony/ATV boss sees more publishing consolidation ahead


Publisher Sony/ATV’s boss Martin Bandier is stepping down in March, but in an interview with the Financial Times he has hinted strongly that he isn’t ready for a quiet retirement just yet. “I can’t picture myself on a beach, and my golf game sucks. Maybe if I’m out there I can consolidate,” said Bandier, referring to 2018’s spate of acquisitions of publishing catalogues.

“There must be 10 new companies that have invested money. Shamrock Capital acquires Stargate Publishing catalogue, Reservoir Media acquires Isley Brothers catalogue… those all happened within the last six months. There’s opportunity here for consolidation,” said Bandier, who confirmed that Sony/ATV had kicked the tyres of some of these catalogues, before passing (Songs Music Publishing, which was acquired by Kobalt for a rumoured $150m in late 2017, he describes as “totally baffling”).

Sony/ATV’s parent corporation has been involved in the publishing consolidation, of course: Sony recently completed its $2.3bn deal to take control of EMI Music Publishing, despite intense opposition in Europe from independent body Impala. That opposition can be expected to fire up again if and when Sony gets its chequebook out again in 2019, although the prospect of Bandier getting involved as an independent entity adds a welcome dash of spice to the industry environment.

Stuart Dredge

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