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Sony/ATV CEO and Chairman Martin Bandier has moved to reassure his staff following reports that Sony is looking to sell its 50% share in the publisher.

Sony has activated a buy-sell clause in its contract with the other 50% owner of Sony/ATV, the Jackson estate.

The clause allows both parties to open discussions regarding an acquisition – from either side.

However, the Wall Street Journal reports that it’s Sony which intends to sell, and an internal email from Sony CFO Ken Yoshida sent late last year appears to lend weight to that conclusion.

Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton sent a note to staff after the reports emerged last week, commenting that Sony would ” decide our next steps, based on a number of factors”.



Lynton added: “I strongly believe that, whoever ultimately ends up owning the company, Sony/ATV will remain a great business and a leader in music publishing for many years to come…. For now, I ask that you proceed with business as usual, stay focused on your work, and continue to build on Sony/ATV’s terrific legacy and success.”

Bandier subsequently sent an email to Sony/ATV employees, passed to MBW, which reiterating that it remained unclear which side of Sony/ATV’s ownership was set to buy out the other.

He stated that he remained “confident that for all of us it will be business as usual during this process and that our best years are still ahead of us”.

You can read Bandier’s note to staff in full below.

Dear all,

By now all of you have probably seen the note from Michael Lynton, as well as reports in the press, regarding a potential sale of Sony/ATV. I know this must have come as a surprise to most of you.

As the note explained, Sony Corporation of America has recently initiated a process that may result in a change in the ownership of Sony/ATV.

There are several potential outcomes, including Sony or the Estate of Michael Jackson acquiring the other’s 50% stake in Sony/ATV.

We are at the beginning of a process that will play out over the next several months. 

One thing I can tell you is that I will do my best to keep all of you informed of significant developments as they occur.

While the future ownership structure of Sony/ATV might be uncertain, one thing has always been clear; Sony/ATV is and will remain the world’s leading music publisher with the largest and most diverse catalog of songs, the best roster of artists and songwriters and the most talented executives.

Doing what is best for our songwriters has always been our goal and I’m sure that will continue to be our primary focus.

I am proud, as you should be, of the work we’ve accomplished, including a record year last year both creatively and financially and a very promising 2015 as we prepare to move to terrific new offices in both New York and L.A. 

I remain confident that for all of us it will be business as usual during this process and that our best years are still ahead of us.


Martin Bandier
Chairman & CEO
Sony/ATV Music Publishing

[Music Business Worldwide]