UK investor snaps up catalogue from Justin Timberlake producer Timbaland

US music producer Timbaland – famous for working with Justin Timberlake, Madonna and Jay-Z – said his music is in “great hands” as he sold a back catalogue to a UK-based company.

Hipgnosis said on Wednesday it has bought the catalogue from the Grammy-award winning artist, though did not reveal the price.

It includes Timberlake’s albums, which have sold 32 million copies globally, Nelly Furtado’s album Loose, featuring her song Maneater and two US number 1 singles, and songs performed by Jay-Z, Madonna, Tupac Shakur, Rihanna and Drake.

Timbaland sells back catalogue
Timbaland has worked with artists including Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z (Victoria Jones/PA)

“Merck [Mercuriadis, Hipgnosis’s founder] is a visionary who I know appreciates the value of my musical life work. My music is in great hands,” Timbaland said.

The London-listed firm has been gathering funds in recent months, including a deal that will let it borrow up to £65 million from JP Morgan Chase. In April it raised £141 million in an oversubscribed share placing.

Mercuriadis said: “Ask any of today’s greatest creators who their biggest influences are and the one name that appears on everybody’s list is Timbaland.

“His iconic records with Aaliyah, Jay Z, Missy Elliot, Nelly Furtado, and Justin Timberlake amongst many others are iconic and will be remembered forever.”

Timbaland is not the first major artist snapped up by Mercuriadis. In August he bought a catalogue from American duo the Chainsmokers and another from Benny Blanco, who has written songs for Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber and Kanye West.

The process of buying artists’ back catalogue was thrown into the spotlight earlier this year when Taylor Swift said she was “grossed out” when her music was sold to entrepreneur Scooter Braun, who she accused of bullying.

Analysts at Liberum estimate that before the acquisition Hipgnosis had around £75 million in cash. At a recent capital markets day the firm announced it had approximately £40 million of investments in the immediate pipeline.

The company usually focuses on older songs with a proven track record of bringing in sales, however the Timbaland catalogue is weighted towards more recent tracks, Liberum said.

It added: “Whilst newer songs can be lucrative in the short term, the lack of track record makes future income harder to predict. The acquisition of the Timbaland catalogue should offer a more predictable revenue stream.”

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