Blackstone Acquires SESAC


Private equity firm Blackstone has purchased the nation’s third-largest performing rights organization SESAC from Rizvi Traverse Management. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the first quarter of 2017.

SESAC’s 30,000 artist and songwriter affiliates include Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, RUSH, Charli XCX (PRS), Zac Brown, Mumford & Sons (PRS), Lady Antebellum, Mariah Carey, Axl Rose, Shirley Caesar, and Robin Thicke.

SESAC Chairman and CEO John Josephson said, “We are excited to partner with Blackstone. The long-term investment horizon of their core private equity platform was especially attractive to us as we seek to execute our company’s growth strategy in our primary performance rights business, as well as mechanical rights, administrative services, multi-rights and multi-territory licensing. Blackstone is acquiring our company with the specific intent of backing the existing management team, and shares our long-term vision for the company with a history of adding value to their portfolio companies as a supportive strategic partner and capital provider. We anticipate a seamless transition in ownership with no disruption to our business activities as a result of this transaction. Going forward, we believe our long-term partnership with Blackstone will position SESAC well for enhanced growth and continued delivery of best in class service to our affiliates, licensees and commercial partners.” Josephson added, “We would also like to thank Ben Kohn and his partners and colleagues at Rizvi for their strong support of SESAC during its ownership of the company over the last four years, and key role in building the business alongside the management team.”

Robert Reid, Senior Managing Director at Blackstone, said, “We are thrilled to be backing John, Kelli Turner and the entire SESAC team and investing in the most progressive music rights organization for songwriters and artists. Music is fundamental to our society and is consumed both actively and passively by users worldwide, across increasingly diverse methods of distribution. We expect music listenership to continue to grow over the long-term and are excited to invest in SESAC, one of the key facilitators of the music market and related copyright management infrastructure.”

David Kestnbaum, Managing Director at Blackstone said, “We view SESAC as an attractive fit for our core private equity investment platform and are pleased to partner with the company’s experienced, highly capable management team to help support their growth strategy over the long term to continue to serve their key affiliate and licensee constituents.”



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Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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