Warner Music Group (WMG) has bid $25 million to buy the catalog of bankrupt Death Row Records, the Rap label run by Marion "Suge" Knight, which owns the works of Tupac Shakur, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. WMG has been named the lead bidder in Death Row's bankruptcy proceedings, according to the New York Post, though competing bidders have until April to put in a better offer. The administrators running the bankruptcy estates of Death Row and Knight have asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Los Angeles to approve the bidding procedures and leading bid at a February 26 hearing. Knight and Death Row originally filed for bankruptcy in April 2006, listing $137 million in debt and just $4.4 million in assets.
The sale of the Death Row catalog, estimated to include 10,000 tracks, has long been held up because prospective buyers are unclear about which assets the label actually controls. There are outstanding claims by Dr. Dre over royalty payments for his album The Chronic, and by Tupac's mother Afeni Shakur over who owns rights to unreleased works by the late rapper. WMG's bid is contingent on those assets being included in the sale, says the Post. The assets for sale would also include videos, master copies of recordings and merchandising rights.
A non-bidding agreement between WMG and Death Row, which includes a $500,000 break-up fee provision for Warner if a deal doesn't go through, is still subject to court approval. Meanwhile, the Death Row catalog has attracted looks from 18 parties, including record labels, banks and film-finance companies. Potential bidders include Lehman Brothers and Koch Records, the Post reported.