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Samuel French sold to Concord Music as rights firm launches world’s ‘most substantial licensing house’

Dex Lee and Jessica Paul in Grease – one of the musicals Concord Theatricals now owns the rights to – at Curve, Leicester, in 2016. Photo: Manuel Harlan
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Licensing company Concord Music has announced the acquisition of Samuel French as it launches a new theatrical rights organisation.

Its purchase of Samuel French means it now has the rights to plays by August Wilson, Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams and musicals including Grease, Chicago, Fun Home and Heathers.

The new business, Concord Theatricals, merges the catalogues of four publishing and licensing organisations, which it claims makes it “the most substantial licensing house in the world”.

Its catalogues now include Samuel French – founded in 1830 and featuring 10,000 titles – Rodgers and Hammerstein Theatricals, Broadway musicals licensing organisation Tams-Witmark, and the Musical Company, which is Concord Music’s joint venture with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group.

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Concord Theatricals also claims to be the only licensing house “providing comprehensive services to creators and producers of musical theatre” including theatrical licensing, music publishing and cast recordings.

In addition, Concord Theatricals has announced plans to develop, license, produce and invest in new musicals for “first-class productions”.

Concord Music acquired Rodgers and Hammerstein Theatricals as part of its company Imagem Music in 2017, and Tams-Witmark in 2018.

Concord Music chief publishing executive Jake Wisely said: “Samuel French adds to Concord Theatricals a broad diversity of rights, relationships, experience and executive talent, along with a great family legacy that will continue to flourish.

“French also broadens our existing relationships and business synergies, as we now represent all of the musicals of Marvin Hamlisch, both the stage rights and film and TV music rights of Agatha Christie Ltd, as well as various recordings and now the plays of Steve Martin. With Samuel French, Concord is no longer just music.”

Samuel French president Nathan Collins added that the merger will enable us “to continue to provide our clients with the most innovative products, dynamic marketing and transparent reporting”.

Concord Theatricals is led by Sean Patrick Flahaven, who has spent the last two years as the founding chief executive of the Musical Company.

The Musical Company was launched in 2016, aiming to compete with Cameron Mackintosh’s own rights management company, Music Theatre International.

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