Warner Music Group Makes $25 Million Bid for Death Row Catalog
Warner Music Group has made a $25 million bid for the music catalog of former industry powerhouse Death Row Records. According to the New York Post, a February 1 filing in US Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California reveals that Warner is the leading bidder out of a group of 18 interested parties that includes Koch Records and Evergreen Copyrights. While the catalog has been on the market since former Death Row head Suge Knight filed for bankruptcy in 2006, a sale has been delayed because of outstanding claims by both Dr. Dre and Afeni Shakur. Dre is still in the process of collecting royalty payments owed to him for his 1992 album The Chronic, while Afeni—mother of slain rapper Tupac Shakur—wants to determine who owns the rights to unreleased material recorded by her son. This uncertainty over what assets Death Row still controls has turned off prospective buyers. Warner will only go through with the purchase if these assets are included in the catalog. A non-bidding agreement between Warner and Death Row, that would pay the major $500,000 if the deal falls through, is still subject to court approval. The company’s Warner Chappell publishing arm currently manages a number of Death Row’s songs, making the purchase even more attractive. Opposing bidders have until April to top Warner’s offer, at which time the assets will be sold through a court auction.