October 14 ------ A consortium led by private equity giant KKR & Co. is nearing a deal to buy rights to music by pop artists Lorde and The Weeknd for $1.1 billon, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the talks. The investor group, which will take a majority stake, and the family office of Stephen Hendel, a former Goldman Sachs partner, are closing in on a deal to buy the catalogue from music company Kobalt, whose roster of artists also includes Paul McCartney and Stevie Nicks, the report said.
KKR declined to comment, while Kobalt did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. The deal for the catalogue could be announced as soon as this week, the report added. This comes close on the heels of another major private equity investment in the music industry when Blackstone Inc. partnered with an advisory firm owned by music executive Merck Mercuriadis to buy music rights and record songs. As part of the partnership, Blackstone said on Tuesday it would deploy around $1 billion and also take an ownership stake in Hipgnosis Song Management, an adviser to the London-listed music catalogues investor Hipgnosis Songs Fund.