When ZZ Top sold its catalog to the KKR-BMG partnership in December, observers noted that the companies, which announced they were joining forces to acquire music catalogs last March, did not in fact appear to be acquiring many.
However, it turns out they have: A source close to the situation confirms to Variety that John Legend sold a catalog that includes songs such as “All of Me” and “Ordinary People” to the partnership in September in an unannounced deal, but was revealed by Bloomberg on Thursday evening , citing an unspecified regulatory filing (a search of SEC filings over the past year returned no documents related to John Legend or his real name, John Stephens, BMG or KKR).
Although the price was not disclosed, Bloomberg says Legend sold the copyrights and rights to receive royalties to music he wrote from late 2004 to early 2020, with the two companies each acquiring a 50% stake.
The source tells Variety that BMG will continue to administer the catalog and has also entered into a new contract to administer future compositions by John Legend.
Representatives for Legend, KKR and BMG declined or did not respond to Variety‘s requests for comments.
Although BMG has been an active music company since its inception in 2008, recent KKR 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 l year and a $200 million catalog of over 500 songs written or produced by OneRepublic frontman and veteran songwriter Ryan Tedder. Since 2009, he has also made major investments in Gibson Brands – best known for its iconic guitars – TikTok parent ByteDance, BMG and others.