Music boss and talent show king Simon Cowell has sold off part of his entertainment company Syco to Sony in a £86m deal. The agreement means Sony will have a large share in Syco, which owns the rights to both the X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent brands, as well as several successful artists.
Newly released accounts reveal that Sony handed over £52.4m in cash just over a year ago, and it will pay another £33.4m within four years. Mr Cowell himself is believed to have received £45m personally from the first cash payment. Meanwhile, the scandal hit retail boss Sir Philip Green will also have done well out of the deal as he was a 10 per cent shareholder in Syco Holdings.
Both Mr Cowell and Sir Philip also got divident payouts from Syco Holding, with Mr Cowell getting a whopping £1.5m, and Sir Philip, who has faced anger about the demise of BHS, got £68,000. That will have added to Mr Cowell’s already impressive fortune, with the Sunday Times Rich List saying that he is worth £340m.
He retains a 20 per cent stake in Syco, which he launched 15 years ago, with Sony having 75 per cent, and Sir Philip five per cent. It’s not the first time Syco and Sony have come together. In 2010, the two organisations set up a joint firm called Syco Entertainments, launched an American version of the X Factor. That business now has an impressive array of talented artists on its books, including Little Mix, who were discovered on the X Factor, as well as Ella Henderson, Fifth Harmony, Fleur East, Il Divo and Susan Boyle.
While the deal was known about in 2015, the amount of money involved was not disclosed at the time. However, it has come to light in accounts lodged by Sony Music Entertainment UK Ltd this week.