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Profit alerts hit 12 as firms cite cost pain


Capital Markets

Profit alerts hit 12 as firms cite cost pain

Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) trading floor. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Listed logistics firm Express Kenya Limited has issued a profit warning for the year ending this month on slowed economic activities in the country which it says have significantly reduced demand for warehousing operations.

Coming just a day after another listed firm, Kakuzi Plc, issued a similar statement, the notice by Express Kenya brings to 12 the growing list of publicly traded companies that have issued earnings alerts to investors this year. A majority of them are citing a tough operating environment that includes the high cost of doing business.

Read: Car & General issues profit warning on climbing costs

Others that have issued the warnings since March include Sameer Africa, Crown Paints, WPP Scangroup, Longhorn Publishers, Sasini, Car & General, Nation Media Group, Centum Investment Company, Unga Group and Kenya Power.

Just like Kakuzi, Express projects that its earnings for the current financial year will be at least 25 percent lower than the income posted last year.

This means that its earnings for 2023 will not surpass Sh56.1 million, having reported a net income of Sh74.8 million last year.

“The warehousing operations of the company are still significantly low due to the decrease in demand and low economic activities leading to reduced income, further resulting to a negative impact on the business performance,” said the firm in a Thursday notice.

“Based on a review of the company’s financial performance, the board of directors has determined that the earnings for the financial year ending December 31, 2023 are projected to be lower than the earnings for the previous year by at least 25 percent.”

Last year, Express Kenya reversed a Sh82.9 million net loss that it had posted in the year ending December 2021.

Kakuzi, on the other hand, projected in a Wednesday statement a decline of at least 25 percent in net earnings from the Sh845.8 million profit posted last year, meaning the figure for this year will not exceed Sh634.4 million.

The agricultural firm attributed the forecast to expected losses arising from a significant decline in demand and price of macadamia on the global markets of China, Japan and the US.

“The anticipated drop in full year net earnings is mainly as a result of our macadamia business which is expected to post a loss due to a significant decline in demand and price in the global markets. However, our other crops are performing as per expectations with a strong performance expected from avocado,” said Kakuzi.

Last year, the firm declared a record dividend of Sh24 per share or a total of Sh470.3 million for the year ended December 2022, after its net income more than doubled from the Sh319.7 million posted in the year ended December 2021.

The payout marked a nine percent increase from the Sh22 per share amounting to Sh431.1 million that was paid for 2021.

The improved earnings were attributed to rising demand for commodities on recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the weakening of the local shilling against major world currencies such as the US dollar.

Read: Kenya Power issues profit warning on forex losses

In March this year, Kakuzi announced plans to grow avocado exports to the Chinese market that it said has the potential to become one of the largest destinations for the Kenyan fruit.

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Premature to talk of rate cuts — BSP


By Keisha B. Ta-asan, Reporter

BANGKO SENTRAL ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Eli M. Remolona, Jr. said it is premature to discuss policy easing in 2024, with the Monetary Board still prepared to hike borrowing costs if needed to make sure inflation returns to the 2-4% target range. 

“The risks are still there so we have to assess the situation. I think it’s premature to say we will start to ease,” he told reporters on Wednesday evening.

Mr. Remolona said the BSP remains hawkish as frequent supply shocks could lead to higher inflation expectations and second-round effects. 

“We want to be sure (inflation) stays within the target range, comfortably within the target range, and then when we are comfortable about that, we can start to think about easing,” he said.

“If inflation is within the target range for one month, it’s not enough. It has to be there and it has to look like it will stay there until we can start to consider not being hawkish,” he said.   

The BSP chief said the goal is to keep inflation expectations anchored to mitigate second-round effects.   

Headline inflation slowed for a second straight month in November to 4.1%, its lowest in 20 months. Year to date, inflation averaged 6.2%, still above the central bank’s 6% forecast.   

From May 2022 to October this year, the BSP has raised interest rates by 450 basis points (bps), bringing the benchmark interest rate to a 16-year high of 6.5%.

Mr. Remolona also said there will be no cut in banks’ reserve requirement ratio (RRR) while the central bank remains hawkish.   

The RRR for big banks is currently at 9.5%, while the ratio for digital banks is at 6%. The BSP also set the RRR for thrift banks, and rural and cooperative banks to 2% and 1%, respectively.

Despite the aggressive rate increases since last year, Mr. Remolona noted Philippine economic growth is still very strong and robust. He noted the impact of policy tightening is gradual, with the effects taking some time to materialize due to prolonged lags. 

“We wish (the lags) were shorter,” he said. “We have to improve the transmission mechanism of monetary policy.”   

Mr. Remolona also said the central bank does not want to make any unnecessary tightening.

“We want to make just enough tightening so that we get within the target range and expectations remain anchored to our target,” he said.   

However, monetary policy may be kept tighter for longer since inflation may go up again next year. 

“It’s sort of tricky because we think inflation should be within the (2-4%) target range in the next month or so, and then there’s kind of a base effect then it will go up and maybe exceed the target range (again),” Mr. Remolona said. “Hopefully not, we hope we could settle within the target range for the rest of 2024.”   

In early 2024, he noted inflation may ease to below 3% before picking up again to 4% by midyear.

At its November meeting, the BSP lowered its risk-adjusted inflation forecast for 2023 to 6.1% (from 6.2%), to 4.4% (from 4.7%) for 2024, and to 3.4% (from 3.5%) for 2025. 

On the other hand, the BSP’s baseline inflation forecast stood at 6% in 2023 and at 3.7% in 2024, before easing to 3.2% in 2025.   

Moving forward, Mr. Remolona said the BSP will use the risk-adjusted inflation forecast and emphasized that policy will be based on “likely events.”

Meanwhile, HSBC economist for ASEAN Aris Dacanay in a note said the BSP will keep its policy rate steady on Dec. 14 after inflation eased in November.

“All in all, the economy’s macroeconomic fundamentals are improving and there is no impending need to adjust monetary policy to be even more restrictive,” he said.   

However, inflation may rise again and breach the 2-4% target in the second quarter of next year when the tariff rates for agricultural items could increase due to the expiration of Executive Order No. 10 on Dec. 31. 

“With upside risks to inflation still heavily tilted to the upside, it may still be too early to put rate cuts on the table. The economy will need time to pause, to ensure that the BSP’s tight monetary stance filters through to the economy,” Mr. Dacanay said.   

The BSP may also begin its easing cycle gradually after the US Federal Reserve does its first rate cut within the third quarter of 2024. 

“By then, we expect headline CPI to be softening on a consistent basis. Cutting at the same rate as the Fed will also mitigate the volatility of the peso against the dollar given how wide the current account deficit still is for the Philippine economy,” Mr. Dacanay said.   

The BSP projects the current account deficit to reach $11.1 billion, or equivalent to -2.5% of gross domestic product (GDP).

In the first semester, the current account deficit stood at $8.2 billion (-4% of GDP), 32.2% lower than the $12.1 billion deficit (-6.1% of GDP) a year ago.

Haley’s Wall Street donor surge draws fire ahead of GOP debate


Former Governor from South Carolina and UN ambassador Nikki Haley (L) and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis attend the third Republican presidential primary debate at the Knight Concert Hall at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, Florida, on November 8, 2023.

Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis slammed Nikki Haley’s economic views and financial ties ahead of the fourth Republican primary debate night.

“You see what some of the support she’s garnering from these Wall Street guys who’ve supported Hillary Clinton,” DeSantis said Tuesday in a radio interview. “She really represents that last gasp of the failed Republican establishment of yesteryear.”

The fresh line of attack from DeSantis hinted at what the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations can expect at Wednesday’s debate in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The event will be broadcast on NewsNation starting at 8:00 p.m. ET.

As President Joe Biden continues to poll poorly on the economy despite falling gas prices and inflation rates, Republicans see a golden opportunity.

But in order for DeSantis to claim the prize, he will need to stand apart from the rest of the field.

The debate could be one of his last chances to cut into Haley’s momentum before the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses next month.

Once seen as the top Republicans alternative to former President Donald Trump, DeSantis has seen his poll numbers slide in recent months, while Haley’s have steadily ticked up.

Some polls now show Haley in second place in the key primary states of New Hampshire and South Carolina — while edging up on DeSantis in Iowa, where he has focused his campaign.

Wall Street weighs in

Haley’s surge has sparked a recent wave of donations from Wall Street veterans and other high-profile donors.

Haley raised over $500,000 on Monday at a glitzy New York City penthouse event packed with financial heavies, CNBC’s Brian Schwartz reported.

Billionaire and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman also reportedly gave $250,000 to a super PAC backing Haley this week.

A Democrat who supports Biden, Hoffman said in a LinkedIn post that he donated to Haley because “my first priority is American democracy and the integrity of our legal system. That means my first priority is to defeat Trump, and the primary is the first of two chances to do so.”

Read more CNBC politics coverage

Hoffman’s party affiliation was not lost on the DeSantis campaign.

“It makes perfect sense that liberal Democrat billionaires would support Nikki Haley’s bid for the White House, because she is a liberal,” campaign press secretary Bryan Griffin said in a statement.

DeSantis’ campaign also resurfaced Haley’s reported meeting last month with Blackrock CEO Larry Fink, an attack focused on Haley’s stance on ESG.

Fink has championed the investing strategy that considers environmental, social and governance factors. But conservatives have decried it, and DeSantis has barred Florida state officials from using public funds to promote ESG goals.

Haley braces for impact

DeSantis isn’t the only Republican set to take aim at Haley Wednesday night.

Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy has been Haley’s chief antagonist so far, and seemed poised to keep up his attacks in Alabama.

Haley has returned fire, most notably when she called him “scum” in the last debate after he made a remark about her adult daughter’s use of TikTok.

Meanwhile, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has accused Haley of tiptoeing around any criticism of Trump, who leads in national polls by huge margins.

Trump will skip Wednesday’s debate just as he has all the others, leaving Haley and DeSantis to duke it out for the chance to be the top Republican alternative, heading into Iowa.

This may not be as empty of a trophy as it sounds. Trump, after all, lost to Biden in 2020, and faces an unprecedented four criminal cases that could go to trial in the next year.

Haley’s campaign shared a debate “cheat sheet” Wednesday that highlighted negative press coverage about DeSantis’ campaign’s personnel issues, and accused him of lying about her record.

Colleges could pay student-athletes at least $30,000 under new proposal that would shake up NCAA sports


NCAA President Charlie Baker is asking members to make one of the most dramatic shifts in the history of college sports by allowing highly resourced schools to pay some of their athletes.

In a letter sent to more than 350 Division I schools Tuesday, Baker said he wants the association to create a new tier of NCAA Division I sports where schools would be required to offer at least half their athletes a payment of at least $30,000 per year through a trust fund.

Baker also proposed allowing all Division I schools to offer unlimited educational benefits and enter into name, image and likeness licensing deals with athletes.

He said the disparity in resources between the wealthiest schools in the top tier of Division I called the Football Bowl Subdivision and other D-I members — along with the hundreds of Division II and III schools — is creating “a new series of challenges.”

“The challenges are competitive as well as financial and are complicated further by the intersection of name, image and likeness opportunities for student-athletes and the arrival of the Transfer Portal,” wrote Baker, the former Massachusetts governor who took over at the NCAA in March.

Baker is scheduled to speak Wednesday at the Sports Business Journal’s Intercollegiate Athletic Forum in Las Vegas.

Division I is currently divided for football into the FBS, which has 133 schools, and FCS (Football Championship Subdivision).

Baker’s proposal is aimed at creating a new subdivision, covering all sports, where the richest athletic departments in the so-called Power Five conferences — the Big Ten, Southeastern Conference, Big 12, Atlantic Coast Conference and Pac-12 — can operate differently than the rest, while still competing with the rest of Division I.

Conference realignment starting in 2024 will move the Pac-12 out of that group.

The proposed shift would not require all members of a conference to be part of the new subdivision. Schools would be allowed to make that determination individually.

Baker noted athletic budgets in Division I range from $5 million and $250 million annually, with 59 schools spending over $100 million annually and another 32 spending over $50 million. He said 259 Division I schools, however, spend less than $50 million on their athletic programs.

Baker said the difference in the way schools that participate in revenue-generating college sports such as major college football and basketball operate and the vast majority of college sports is complicating attempts to modernize the entire enterprise.

“The contextual environment is equally challenging, as the courts and other public entities continue to debate reform measures that in many cases would seriously damage parts or all of college athletics,” he wrote.

Mountain West Commissioner Gloria Nevarez said a during the Sports Business Journal’s Intercollegiate Sports Forum that subdivision can be a trigger word in the NCAA, stoking worries some schools will be shut out of championship events or lose out on revenue. Nevarez didn’t read Baker’s proposal that way.

“When I read it … it talked about space to make governance,” she said.

Baker and college sports leaders have been pleading with Congress to help the NCAA with a federal law to regulate the way athletes can be paid for NIL deals.

“I am 100% supportive of your efforts. Intercollegiate Athletics needs the proactive and forward thinking you are providing,” Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said in a post on social media platform X.

Smith oversees one of the largest athletic departments in the country with operating expenses of above $225 million annually.

Former Southern California and NFL star Reggie Bush called schools paying athletes, “Long overdue.”

Bush, who was being inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame on Tuesday night in Las Vegas, was the focus of an NCAA impermissible benefits infractions case during his USC career that resulted in the vacation of a national title for the Trojans and Bush’s 2005 Heisman Trophy victory.

Baker’s letter is an aggressive first step toward a major shift for the NCAA. To turn his vision into detailed legislation will take member feedback, lots of work by the Division I Council and final approval from the Division I Board of Directors.

There is no timetable to bring the proposal to fruition.

The NCAA is also facing a new round of legal threats that could force its members to share some of the billions in revenue generated by major college football and basketball, along with giving athletes employees status. One antitrust case working its way through federal court could cost the NCAA billions in damages.

Baker called on NCAA member schools to create a new framework to make what he called “fundamental changes.”

“First, we should make it possible for all Division I colleges and universities to offer student-athletes any level of enhanced educational benefits they deem appropriate. Second, rules should change for any Division I school, at their choice, to enter into name, image and likeness licensing opportunities with their student-athletes,” he wrote. “These two changes will enhance the financial opportunities available to all Division I student-athletes.”

Currently, schools are allowed — though not required — to provide athletes $5,980 per year in educational benefits under NCAA rules.

Baker said the changes would help level the playing field between men’s and women’s athletics by forcing schools to abide by gender equity regulations as they invest.

He said schools in a new tier of Division I should be allowed, while staying compliant with Title IX, to “invest at least $30,000 per year into an enhanced educational trust fund for at least half of the institution’s eligible student-athletes.”

A new D-I subdivision should also allow members to create unique rules regarding “scholarship commitment and roster size, recruitment, transfers or NIL,” he said.

Mid-American Conference Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said Baker’s proposal merely defines what already exists: The power conference schools have separated themselves financially, already provide greater benefits to athletes and have some autonomy in the NCAA legislative process.

“I think probably a lot of people are saying this is the precursor of the great breakaway (of power conferences from the NCAA),” Steinbrecher said. “I would suggest to you it’s exactly the opposite. It’s taking the pressure valve off.”

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UK regulators put onus on porn sites to check users’ ages


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Pornography websites must strengthen their age verification measures and use tools such as facial scanning software and credit card checks to protect children from their content, as part of the UK’s tough new online safety regime.

Ofcom, the UK’s media regulator tasked with enforcing the Online Safety Act, on Tuesday issued guidance to porn websites, forcing them to introduce stricter technical measures to ensure that their users are over the age of 18. Some websites are no more stringent than asking users whether they are over the age of 18.

Groups that fail to adhere to the rules could be fined up to 10 per cent of annual global revenue, be blocked from operating in the UK or face criminal liability for their named executives.

The UK’s legislation, many years in the making, is seen as among the strongest online regulations in the world, with Ofcom’s new guidance forming its first step in holding companies to account for breaches of the law.

“The heart of the Online Safety Act is around children continuing to enjoy the internet but doing so safely,” Gill Whitehead, Ofcom’s director of online safety, told the Financial Times.

“Children [are] seeing pornography that can be quite violent and quite aggressive,” she added. “The act is very clear that that experience must change.”

The average age at which children first encounter online pornography is 13, according to research by the children’s commissioner this year. However, 27 per cent come across it at 11.

Ofcom’s guidance said that age-assurance methods, which also include user information from banks and photo ID matches, must be “accurate, robust, reliable and fair”.

Facial age estimation, in which a user’s face is scanned to estimate their age, is also on the UK regulator’s list of suggestions. This type of software, however, has been criticised for lacking accuracy, with a greater degree of errors on non-white faces.

“There’s a lot of investment going into this area, and [it is being] improved upon all the time,” said Whitehead. “For example, in bias, there are increasing steps to make sure that the training data sets used are using diverse data.”

Critics, including the Open Rights Group and the Digital Policy Alliance, an internet and technology sector think-tank, argue age verification will create databases containing highly sensitive information that could expose individuals if leaked or hacked.

“Ofcom’s proposed guidelines create serious risks to everyone’s privacy and security,” said Abigail Burke of the Open Rights Group. 

“The potential consequences of data being leaked are catastrophic and could include blackmail, fraud, relationship damage and the outing of people’s sexual preferences in very vulnerable circumstances.”

However, Iain Corby, executive director at the Age Verification Providers Association, a trade body for suppliers of age-assurance technologies, said data protection laws prevent this.

“Understandably, no one wants to give a porn site their personal data,” he said. “Our members are tightly regulated and have done over a billion online age checks without any data breaches because we don’t create any new central databases of personal information.”

The 7 Minute Plank Challenge to Master for 2024


The 7 Minute Plank Challenge to Master for 2024

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Israel says ground forces operating across Gaza Strip as offensive builds By Reuters



© Reuters. A mobile artillery unit fires in direction of Gaza Strip, during an ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, at the border with Gaza, in Israel, December 2, 2023. REUTERS/Amir Cohen


By Arafat Barbakh and Nidal al-Mughrabi

GAZA/CAIRO (Reuters) -The Israeli military said its ground forces were operating against Hamas across the Gaza Strip on Sunday, its clearest indication yet that a planned ground offensive in the enclave’s heavily crowded south had begun as Israeli bombing killed and wounded dozens of Palestinians.

The Hamas Palestinian militant group said its fighters clashed with Israeli troops about 2 km (1 mile) from the southern city of Khan Younis. Residents, many of whom had moved there to flee earlier attacks in the Israel-Palestinian conflict, said they could hear tank fire and feared a new Israeli ground offensive was building.

The Israeli military earlier ordered people to evacuate some areas in and near the city, but made no announcement of any new southern ground assault.

“The IDF (Israel Defence Forces) continues to extend its ground operation against Hamas centres in all of the Gaza Strip,” spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari told reporters in Tel Aviv. “The forces are coming face-to-face with terrorists and killing them.”


Attacks on shipping in the southern Red Sea on Sunday fueled fears of the conflict spreading.

The U.S. Defense Department said three commercial ships were attacked by Yemen’s Iran-allied Houthi movement in international Red Sea waters, and a U.S. destroyer operating in the area shot down three drones as it responded to distress calls.

A Houthi spokesperson said its navy had attacked two Israeli ships in the Red Sea with an armed drone and a missile on Sunday, though an Israeli military spokesman said the two ships had no connection to Israel.

Separately, the U.S. carried out a self-defense strike in Iraq against an “imminent threat” at a drone staging strike. It was not immediately clear if the incidents were linked.


The Jabalia refugee camp in the north of Hamas-ruled Gaza was among the sites reported hit from the air. A Gazan health ministry spokesperson said several people were killed by an Israeli air strike.

Footage obtained by Reuters showed a boy covered in grey dust, sitting weeping amid crumbled cement and rubble from collapsed buildings.

“My father was martyred,” he cried in a hoarse voice. A girl in a pink sweatshirt, also coated with dust, stood between piles of rubble.

Bombardments from war planes and artillery were also concentrated on Khan Younis and Rafah, another city in Gaza’s south, residents said, and hospitals were struggling to cope with the flow of wounded.

Israel’s government spokesperson, Eylon Levy, said the military had struck more than 400 targets over the weekend “including extensive aerial attacks in the Khan Younis area” and had also killed Hamas militants and destroyed their infrastructure in Beit Lahiya in the north.

There was no immediate comment on the reports of specific attacks.

The renewed warfare followed the end on Friday of a seven-day pause in the fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas militants which had allowed an exchange of 105 hostages held by Hamas, most of them Israelis, for 240 Palestinian prisoners.

The latest violence took place despite calls from the United States — Israel’s closest ally — for Israel to limit harm to Palestinian civilians in the new phase of its offensive, focused on the south.

More than 15,523 people have been killed, according to Gaza’s health ministry, in nearly two months of warfare that broke out after a Hamas cross-border raid on southern Israel on Oct. 7 in which 1,200 Israelis were killed and around 240 taken hostage. Israel says Hamas continues to hold 136 hostages.

Israel has vowed to annihilate Hamas. The Iranian-backed group is sworn to Israel’s destruction. The initial Hamas attack and the ensuing war amount to the bloodiest episode in the decades-old wider Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Osama Hamdan, a Lebanon-based Hamas official, accused Israel of pursuing a deliberate strategy of urging Gazan civilians south in order to trap and kill them there.

“It has become clear that the occupation’s claim … of the existence of safe areas in the south of the Gaza Strip, and its constant call for citizens to go there, was a premeditated plan and trap to commit more massacres against unarmed civilians and displaced people in the south,” he told reporters without citing evidence. “There are no safe areas.”

Israeli military spokesperson Jonathan Conricus told CNN that Israeli forces were targeting Hamas command and control centers, weapons storage and logistics facilities, and was asking Palestinians to evacuate to a special humanitarian zone in southern Gaza near Khan Younis.

“It isn’t perfect but it is the best, currently available solution that we have,” Conricus said.


Gaza residents said earlier on Sunday they feared an Israeli ground offensive on the southern areas was imminent. Tanks had cut off the road between Khan Younis and Deir Al-Balah in central Gaza, effectively dividing the Gaza Strip into three.

The Israeli military ordered Palestinians to evacuate several areas in and around Khan Younis. It posted a map highlighting shelters they should go to west of Khan Younis and south toward Rafah, on the border with Egypt.

Many residents started packing but said that areas they had been told to go to were themselves coming under attack.

Nabil Al-Ghandour told Reuters he and his family would leave Khan Younis for Rafah later on Sunday, their fifth move in search of safety since the conflict started.

“We can’t see any safe areas,” he said. “But we move because what can we do? We have children and all night there’s shelling.”

Later on Sunday, a Gazan health ministry official said seven people were killed in an air strike on a house in Rafah. The Israeli military did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


The Israeli military said on Sunday its war planes and helicopters had struck Hamas targets including tunnel shafts, command centres and weapons storage facilities. Naval forces had hit Hamas vessels on the coast, it said.

The military declined to give figures on the number of air strikes carried out.

On another front, Israeli forces and Hezbollah militants traded fire across the Israel-Lebanon border and Israel said several of its soldiers were wounded when an anti-tank missile fired from Lebanon hit a vehicle in the Beit Hillel area of northern Israel. Reuters could not independently verify the accounts.

Bitcoin rally bodes well for miners’ profit prospects (Cryptocurrency:BTC-USD)



Bitcoin (BTC-USD) climbed 9.3% for the month of November, in a move that further buoyed bitcoin miners’ shares and their profitability prospects.

These miners are in the business of receiving bitcoin (BTC-USD) as a reward for completing “blocks” of verified transactions

From Sony Music’s deepfake takedowns to iHeartMedia’s $100m BMI sale proceeds… it’s MBW’s Weekly Round-Up


Welcome to Music Business Worldwide’s weekly round-up – where we make sure you caught the five biggest stories to hit our headlines over the past seven days. MBW’s round-up is supported by Centtrip, which helps over 500 of the world’s best-selling artists maximize their income and reduce their touring costs.

Following last week’s confirmation of BMI‘s sale to private equity firm New Mountain Capital (along with Alphabet-owned CapitalG), we learned this week that US radio giant iHeartMedia is set to get $100 million from the sale.

Since its inception, performance rights organization BMI has been owned by a consortium of radio and TV broadcasters, and in the weeks and months to come, we’ll likely find out just how much other broadcasters stand to make from the sale.

BMI didn’t put a specific price on NMC’s takeover in its confirmation last week, but sources have previously put the acquisition price in NMC’s offer at around $1.7 billion.

Elsewhere in the world of music, Warner Music Group-owned ADA Worldwide struck up a global distribution deal with generative AI music startup Boomy, in what’s being called a “first-of-its-kind” partnership that will see select Boomy artists distributed across numerous DSPs and social media platforms.

Speaking of AI-generated music, MBW reviewed the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA)‘s submission to the US Copyright Office’s inquiry into AI and copyright, and found the trade group pulled no punches, asserting that “hindsight may well prove that there is no hyperbole in saying that generative AI is the greatest risk to the human creative class that has ever existed”.

MBW also interviewed JT Myers and Nat Pastor about their plans for Virgin Music Group, and analyzed a speech delivered in Washington D.C. by Sony Music Entertainment‘s Dennis Kooker about AI and copyright law.

Here’s what happened this week…

iHeartMedia logo


US radio giant iHeartMedia is lined up for a USD $100 million windfall from the sale of BMI to a shareholder group led by New Mountain Capital (NMC).

On Monday (November 27), iHeart said that it expects, following the sale, to receive “approximately” $100 million of proceeds “related to its equity interest in BMI, subject to approval of the transaction by BMI shareholders and customary regulatory approvals”.

The US broadcaster added that it plans to use the proceeds for “general corporate purposes, which may include the repayment of debt”.

Last week we learned that private equity firm NMC will “lead a shareholder group” to acquire a majority stake in BMI.

We’d known for some time that the private equity firm –  which has over $45 billion in assets under management – had been in talks to acquire BMI, but the news was confirmed last Tuesday (November 21)…


Generative AI music startup Boomy has inked a global distribution deal with Warner Music Group-owned indie label distributor ADA Worldwide, in what it calls a “first-of-its-kind” partnership.

ADA, Warner’s independent distribution and label services arm, distributes music for a number of indie labels, and now it will also distribute music from Boomy, a platform that enables artists to create music with the aid of AI. The platform also functions as a label and music distributor.

According to California-headquartered Boomy’s website, artists on the platform – which launched in 2019 – have created more than 18.1 million tracks to date.

Under the deal with ADA, Boomy’s A&R team “will bring top artists and exclusively curated music from the Boomy roster to ADA,” the companies said in a statement on Wednesday (November 29)…

Photo Credit: Jordan Strauss


Why make the leap?

It’s a question that springs up now and again in this business, whenever successful and/or renowned entrepreneurs jump into a job at a major music company.

Universal Music Group, of course, has a rich history in this field and over the past year, this story arc has played out yet again at UMG, but with a twist.

In mid-2022, JT Myers and Nat Pastor were well established as the forward-thinking minds behind mtheory – a multi-pronged services and advisory engine for fellow indie music entrepreneurs. Their success to date had included work with artists such as Tove Lo and Tom Odell, as well as Major Lazer’s Lean On, the first fully independent track to reach No.1 on the US Top 40 radio chart.

Then Sir Lucian Grainge called. The Universal boss pitched to Myers and Pastor the concept of running a united UMG independent label/artist services division with global might – arguably the first truly worldwide swing Universal has taken to challenge Sony’s The Orchard.

“At first we were kind of confused by the whole conversation, to be honest,” laughs Myers. “But as we got more into it, Lucian explained that he saw the whole [record] business changing – and our ears really pricked up”…

Credit: Stock-Asso/Shutterstock


Legislators and regulators around the world are grappling with how to address the many issues that have emerged since AI technology “went mainstream” about a year ago.

Numerous businesses involved in AI, and those with substantial copyright holdings, have submitted their thoughts on the issue to the US Copyright Office, and to get the clearest view of the direction the music industry would like to see things head, it might help to read the submission from the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA).

The NMPA’s submission, dated October 30, 2023, pulls no punches. It starts off by stressing that its membership – US music publishers major and independent – are “not opposed” to AI.

But then it goes for the jugular: “However, the development of the generative AI marketplace is marked by breathtaking speed, size and complexity. Hindsight may well prove that there is no hyperbole in saying that generative AI is the greatest risk to the human creative class that has ever existed”…


Senior political figures in Washington are becoming increasingly interested in the impact of AI on the law.

On Wednesday (November 29), US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer held an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Insight Forum to discuss the importance and role of creative copyright and intellectual property in the development of AI.

Dennis Kooker, Sony Music Entertainment‘s President of Global Digital Business & US Sales, delivered a speech at the Forum, outlining the major music company’s position on AI and copyright law.

In his speech, Kooker commented directly on the flurry of submissions to the USCO from the tech industry at the end of October.

In what may have been a nod to Google‘s filing and “fair use” position, Kooker told Senators that “based on recent Copyright Office filings it is clear that the technology industry and speculative financial investors would like governments to believe in a very distorted view of copyright”…

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Music Business Worldwide

Sebi: Dual settlement plan may trigger arbitrage bets


Mumbai: The capital markets regulator’s plan to introduce a dual stock trade settlement system could create a peculiar situation rarely seen elsewhere in the world. According to brokers, one stock could see two prices depending on the timeframe opted by the market participant for settlement.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has embarked on an ambitious plan to introduce a same-day settlement system, popularly known as T+0, for stock trades. This means stocks and funds will change hands on the same day, making the settlement process shorter. Currently, India follows the T+1 system, settlement happens by the next day of the trade. This was implemented in January. Brokers said Sebi wants both systems to co-exist as same-day trade settlement could face resistance from institutional investors – mainly foreign.

The parallel settlement systems will, however, lead to price variations in stocks. For instance, a stock getting settled on the same day of the trade could trade at lower prices compared to it getting settled the next day as early payments must factor in the higher cost of funds for the buyer, who must cough up money on the same day to settle the trade. This could result in some quick money-making opportunities for traders looking to benefit from price differentials.

“The introduction of two sets of settlement windows could generate distinctive arbitrage opportunities, where the same-day settlement price of a stock is expected to be slightly lower, accounting for the interest associated with early payment,” said Vijay Bhushan, former president of the Association Of National Exchanges Members Of India (ANMI). “Additionally, higher impact costs are anticipated in instances of low liquidity in one of the settlement windows.”

Currently, traders are not permitted to buy and sell the same stock on different exchanges on the same day. They are allowed to sell across exchanges only if they hold the stock in their demat accounts.

Last week, Sebi chairperson Madhabi Puri Buch indicated the introduction of same-day settlement could happen by March 2024. The regulator is yet to detail its plans.