When ZZ Top sold its catalog to the KKR-BMG partnership in December, observers noted that the companies, which announced that they were joining forces to acquire music catalogs last March, hadn’t actually seemed to acquire much.
However, it turns out they have: A source close to the situation confirms to Variety that John Legend sold a catalog that includes such songs as “All of Me” and “Ordinary People” to the partnership in September in a deal that was not announced, but was revealed by Bloomberg late Thursday, citing an unspecified regulatory filing (a search of SEC filings in the past year did not return any documents related to John Legend or his real name, John Stephens, BMG or KKR).
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While the price was not disclosed, Bloomberg says Legend sold the copyrights and the rights to receive royalties from music he wrote from late 2004 through early 2020, with the two companies acquiring a 50% stake each.
The source tells Variety that BMG will continue to administer the catalog and also has struck a new deal to administer John Legend’s future compositions.
Reps for Legend, KKR and BMG declined or did not respond to Variety‘s requests for comment.
While BMG has been an active music company since this iteration of it was founded in 2008, KKR’s recent activity separate from BMG includes the acquisition of the 62,000-song KMR Music Royalties II portfolio from Kobalt Capital for approximately $1.1 billion last year and a catalog of over 500 songs written or produced by OneRepublic frontman and veteran songwriter Ryan Tedder for a reported $200 million. Since 2009 it has also made major investments in Gibson Brands — best known for its iconic guitars — TikTok parent ByteDance, BMG and others.
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