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CAA invests in publisher Primary Wave

Creative Artists Agency (CAA) has taken a minority stake in private music publishing and talent management company Primary Wave.

New York-headquartered Primary Wave has a catalogue that consists of over 800 top 10 singles, more than 400 number-one hits, and some of the most legendary names in music, including Prince, Bob Marley, Whitney Houston, James Brown, Stevie Nicks, Ray Charles, Smokey Robinson, Bing Crosby and Def Leppard.

The deal will see CAA leverage its film, television, theatrical and branding teams for the placement of acquired copyrights. While Primary Wave will benefit from the agency’s “artistic, creative, relationship and content-creation clout, unheard of in the music publishing space”.

News of the partnership comes as Brookfield Asset Management Inc. strikes a $2 billion deal with Primary Wave to invest in music rights.

As part of the deal, Brookfield will acquire a significant minority interest in the publisher and commit $1.7 billion to a fund to buy music rights.

Primary Wave chief executive Larry Mestel told The Wall Street Journal: “[This deal] means there isn’t any good acquisition that we couldn’t do in the music business. We’re not limited by size or opportunity.”

“CAA provides artistic, creative, relationship and content-creation clout unheard of in the music publishing space”

The publisher says Brookfield and CAA, with the continued involvement of funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management, will provide unique financial, creative, and global relationships to the music powerhouse.

“Brookfield is among the most intelligent and well-financed deal-makers in the world,” says Mestel. “What separates them from every other financially oriented investor of their size is their creativity, long-term horizon and ability to help scale unique businesses with operational expertise in addition to capital.”

Angelo Rufino, managing partner, Brookfield, adds: “We are thrilled to deliver a comprehensive capital solution to Larry and the team at Primary Wave to support their continued acquisition of the world’s most iconic music IP. Strong secular growth trends, scarcity value of assets and the continued penetration of music in new forms of content delivery underpin this significant commitment to the asset class.”

Primary Wave has spent $300 million on deals so far in 2022, with a further $600m of pending transactions expected to be completed by year-end.

The company’s catalogue also includes the likes of Prince, Bing Crosby, Luther Vandross, Chris Isaak, Teddy Pendergrass, Gerry Goffin, James Brown and many others.


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