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Thursday, February 18, 1965

Northern Songs becomes a public company


Last updated on January 2, 2022


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On this day, the music publishing company Northern Songs, created in February 1963 to publish songs written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, became a public company on the London Stock Exchange. From Wikipedia:

During 1965 it was decided to make Northern Songs a public company to reduce their income tax burden. 1,250,000 shares were traded on the London Stock Exchange, which were worth 17 pence each ($0.28), but were offered at 66 pence ($1.09) each. Although the trade was scoffed at by various financial institutions, it was expected that the application lists would not remain open for more than 60 seconds, which is exactly what happened, as the lists were oversubscribed. After the offer was closed, Lennon and McCartney owned 15% each, worth £195,200 ($320,000), NEMS a 7.5% interest, and James and Silver (who served as Northern Songs’ chairmen), controlling 37.5%, with Harrison and Starr sharing 1.6%. The remaining shares were owned by various financial institutions. At the same time, Lennon and McCartney renewed their previous three-year publishing contracts, binding them to Northern Songs until 1973. Harrison also signed with the company in 1965, for a period of three years. To protect his interests, James took out a life insurance policy of £500,000 on Lennon and McCartney. By the summer of 1966, 88 songs by Lennon and McCartney had been recorded and released, amounting to 2,900 versions by different artists.

Harrison founded his own publishing company, Mornyork Ltd. in September 1964, and changed the name to Harrisongs Ltd. in December. Following the expiration of his contract with Northern Songs in 1968, Harrison’s songs were published by Harrisongs Ltd. Ringo Starr formed a publishing company for his songs, called Startling Music, in 1968.

Ownership of Northern Songs after the introduction on the London Stock Exchange:

Dick James Music7.5%
Dick James15%
Charles Silver15%
John Lennon15%
Paul McCartney15%
George Harrison 1.6%
Ringo Starr1.6%
NEMS (company owned by Brian Epstein)7.5%
Other shareholders21.8%

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