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Hipgnosis Adds Activist Investor Christopher Mills to Board Ahead of Half-Year Earnings Release

Hipgnosis songs fund

Photo Credit: Hipgnosis Songs Fund

As its future – and the fate of the many catalogs that it owns – hangs in the balance, Hipgnosis Songs Fund (HSF) has appointed a longtime activist investor to its board.

The publicly traded songs fund formally announced the appointment and other developments today, after confirming on Monday that it had sold off a sizable portfolio of music IP. As DMN has covered at length, the moves have arrived after investors in October voted against HSF’s continuation.

Due to the latter, which followed all manner of operational difficulties and the start of a related strategic review, HSF’s board, now chaired by a veteran of Round Hill’s own songs fund, has until late April to disclose proposals for the “reconstruction, reorganization or winding-up” of the business.

While time will, of course, reveal these proposals’ exact details, the initially mentioned appointment of a non-executive director, Christopher Mills, is providing interesting context as to the direction of the involved discussions.

The founder of Harwood Capital Management (which reportedly has some $2.5 billion/£2 billion under management via both public and private equities) and the current CEO of the North Atlantic Smaller Companies Investment Trust, Christopher Mills at present serves as director for 35 entities by HSF’s count.

Additionally, the 71-year-old, who’s the grandson of circus owner Bertram Mills, has held a number of other directorships during the past five years – with different stints yet as director at multiple companies that “have been placed into liquidation or receivership/administration.”

Currently in possession of zero HSF common shares, Mills is poised to donate his directorship compensation “to the Harwood Charitable Trust, which provides educational support, mainly for doctors in Africa,” according to HSF’s announcement.

Regarding Mills’ possible impact as a boardmember, London-based Numis has reportedly indicated that the self-described “special situations investor” should offer a “‘robust challenge to the manager’” of HSF, Merck Mercuriadis.

Besides the appointment of Mills, HSF today revealed new committee chair positions for four directors. Specifically, Cindy Rampersaud has become head of the Audit and Risk Management Committee, Robert Naylor is now chair of the Nomination Committee, Simon Holden is leading the Portfolio Committee, and Francis Keeling is officially the Management Engagement Committee’s chair.

When the market closed, Hipgnosis Songs Fund stock (LON: SONG) was worth about 70 pence per share, reflecting an over 2.3 percent boost from opening. The company is expected to post its half-year financials (for the six months ended September 30th) this coming Tuesday, December 19th.

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