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Simon Cowell considering alternative partner for Syco TV business, says FT

By | Published on Monday 13 October 2014


Simon Cowell’s current alliance with Sony Music is reaching its conclusion – a five year deal having been struck in 2010 – and, according to the Financial Times. The ‘X Factor’ guru seems set on continuing to work with the major on his recorded music ventures, he might look to forge a different partnership for his TV assets, which have apparently generated $374 million in revenue during the current contract period.

Cowell seemingly told the FT that there was not “really a part of Sony that can deal with all we’re doing”, ie music and television simultaneously, though whether that meant working with another big media player on the latter, well, “I guess a lot rests on what other companies perceive as the value of Syco Entertainment”. Which sounds rather like a call for big telly show makers to get in touch.

Of course, while Sony Music – beyond Syco – is first and foremost a music company, the wider Sony business is very much in the television and film game through its mainly US-based studios. Though some insiders say that Syco, sitting within Sony Music, hasn’t always had the smoothest of rides with other Sony divisions when partnerships have been pursued. Which may or may not refer to the One Direction movie, which Sony Pictures distributed.

Nevertheless, Sony Music chief Doug Morris is quoted by the FT as saying he hopes Syco will renew its full partnership with his company, telling reporters: “I want all of Simon here”. Though he added: “I like him very much and I would not want him to stay if it was not the right place for him”.

Arcadia Group boss Philip Green seemingly continues to advise Cowell on his business partnerships, and will likely play a key role in the decision making ahead of next year’s contract renewal. Green’s exact role in Cowell’s business affairs hasn’t been especially clear since the 2010 Sony agreement, after it was revealed the Arcadia chief didn’t have any equity in Cowell and Sony’s Syco joint venture. But the FT says Cowell has now transferred 20% of his 50% in Syco over to Green, making good on a “handshake agreement” from back in 2010.