Sony Music Entertainment is set to acquire the catalog of legendary rock band Queen in a landmark deal worth GBP £1 billion (USD $1.27 billion at current exchange rates).

That’s according to Hits, which reported on Wednesday (June 19), citing sources, that Sony Music has emerged as the winning buyer for Queen’s recording and publishing rights, as well as royalties from previous deals with Disney Music Group and Universal Music Group.

Queen’s catalog features megahits like Bohemian Rhapsody, Another One Bites the Dust, We Will Rock You, and many more.

Disney owns the band’s recorded music catalog in North America, while UMG has a global distribution agreement with Disney. Separately, Queen band members Brian May, Roger Taylor, and John Deacon – plus the Freddie Mercury estate – each own equal shares in the company Queen Productions Ltd, which owns the group’s recording catalog outside the US and Canada, Music Business Worldwide noted in a report last year.

UMG, as Disney’s distributor, will reportedly retain distribution rights in North America, although Sony will receive the royalties. UMG’s worldwide distribution rights will then transfer to Sony in 2026 or 2027, making Sony Music the sole distributor and owner of all Queen content globally, Hits explained.

The deal also reportedly includes name and likeness rights, opening doors for merchandise and other ventures. Meanwhile, Queen’s founding members, May and Taylor, who continue to tour with vocalist Adam Lambert, will reportedly retain control of revenue from live performances.

The agreement is expected to close “in the next few weeks,”  but details about manager Jim Beach and his daughter’s involvement remain unclear. Another bidder reportedly offered $900 million for the rights, Hits said.

Less than a month ago, Bloomberg reported, citing sources, that Sony is “working with another investor” on a transaction that “could potentially total $1 billion.”

The news outlet at the time said the negotiations “are ongoing and may not result in an agreement” but that a potential deal would include “merchandising and other business opportunities”.

Last year, MBW first reported that talks between Queen’s representatives and certain companies were taking place over a potential $1 billion-plus catalog sale.

That reportedly included both publishing and recorded music rights, all jointly and equally owned by the band’s surviving members, May, Taylor and John Deacon, as well as the estate of Freddie Mercury.

At the time, MBW’s sources said major music companies including Universal Music Group, as well as private equity groups, had been in discussions regarding a sale.

If confirmed, the deal is shaping up to be one of the biggest music catalog acquisitions in history, surpassing Sony’s own $500 million acquisition of Bruce Springsteen‘s catalog in late 2021.

Earlier this year, Billboard reported that Sony Music Group had acquired half of Michael Jackson‘s catalog from his estate for at least $600 million, and in 2022, Sony Music fully acquired Bob Dylan’s catalog of recorded music.

Music Business Worldwide



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