Los Angeles Business Journal

Germany’s BMG Buys Bug Music

By Deborah Crowe Monday, September 12, 2011

BMG Rights Management plans to buy Los Angeles song publisher Bug Music, which manages a catalog of hits that includes "What a Wonderful World," "I Walk the Line” and "The Real Slim Shady," for a reported $300 million.

BMG Rights of Berlin, Germany, and Bug Music’s private equity owners, Spectrum Equity Investors and Crossroads Media Inc., did not disclose financial terms on Monday, but sources told Reuters that the deal was valued at $300 million. The transaction is expected to close next month.

Bug Music owns or manages copyrights for an estimated 400,000 classic and contemporary songs. The company was founded in 1975 and earlier this year moved its headquarters from Hollywood to the Miracle Mile. Its clients include the estates of Johnny Cash, Muddy Waters, Woody Guthrie, and Stevie Ray Vaughan, as well as artists Iggy Pop, Kings of Leon and Ryan Adams.

Last year, Bug acquired worldwide rights to the music catalog of billionaire Haim Saban’s Saban Music Group, which includes theme songs, cues and scores from more than 90 television series, 3,700 television episodes and 100 made-for-television films and specials. The Saban catalogue includes the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchises.

BMG, founded in 2008, is a joint venture between KKR and the German media giant Bertelsmann that has grown by acquiring small publishers. Its estimated catalog of about 300,000 songs would more than double with the Bug acquisition. BMG also is among the bidders for major music label EMI Music.

“With the acquisition of Bug Music and its vast collection of evergreen and contemporary compositions, BMG further establishes itself as a leading music rights management company,” said BMG Chief Executive Hartwig Masuch in a statement.