Hipgnosis Songs Fund’s independent valuer has exited its role amid a heated dispute over the valuation of the music fund’s catalogues, which include hits by Mariah Carey and The Rolling Stones.
The music royalties fund is now seeking a replacement for US-headquartered Citrin Cooperman after it flagged concerns about the valuation provided by Citrin’s longtime music rights specialist Barry Massarsky last year.
Hipgnosis postponed its financial results on 19 December, stating that the valuation of its catalogues was “materially higher” than expected compared to similar deals in the sector at the time.
The accounting firm gave notice of its resignation the following day, according to The Times. City A.M. has approached Citrin and Hipgnosis for comment.
A spokesperson for Hipgnosis told The Times it had “begun a formal process to appoint a new independent valuer for its year-end report and accounts. The new valuer will advise the board on an ongoing basis. The board remains focused on the strategic review, under which it is looking at all options to deliver shareholder value.”
In October, shareholders voiced their dissatisfaction with the fund’s performance by voting against a proposed $440m discounted sale of 29 catalogues to a Blackstone-managed fund led by Hipgnosis’s founder, Merck Mercuriadis.
The fallout from this rebellion led to the removal of three directors, including chairman Andrew Sutch, who was subsequently replaced by Robert Naylor, former chairman of Round Hill Music Royalty Fund.
Hipgnosis is in the thick of a strategic review. Last week, nearly 100 per cent of shareholders voted in favour of paying potential acquirers of the fund’s catalogues up to £20m in a one-off incentive fee.