According to CNN, Universal Music Group is in talks to acquire QUEEN's catalog from Disney Music Group.
The source added that the sale could surpass $1 billion and that the deal is "expected to close within one month."
According to Music Business Worldwide, Disney Music Group owns the band's recorded music catalog in North America. (DMG has a global distribution agreement with Universal Music Group.)
QUEEN members Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon, as well as the estate of the band's late singer Freddie Mercury — reportedly each own equal shares in the company Queen Productions Ltd, which owns the group's recording catalog outside the U.S. and Canada.
Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Stevie Nicks and Neil Young are some of the iconic musicians who have recently sold off substantial rights to their music, whether it's just for publishing or the original recordings, known as masters. Investors, major music companies and private equity firms have poured billions of dollars into buying song catalogs, believing that the rise of streaming and growing music revenues will make song rights acquisitions highly lucrative in the long term as they can be exploited for up to 70 years after a musician's death.
If the QUEEN deal happens, it will mark the biggest artist catalog sale in history, eclipsing Springsteen's $500 million sale of his masters and publishing to Sony in 2021.
QUEEN remains one of the most popular groups in the world today, transcending multiple generations of fans, a position further buoyed by the phenomenal global success of their Academy Award-winning 2018 biographical film "Bohemian Rhapsody", which tells the incredible story of the band's historic career.
Last December, QUEEN's single "Bohemian Rhapsody" crossed the threshold of two billion streams on Spotify. The news came less than two years after the QUEEN classic was officially certified diamond by the Recording Industry Association Of America (RIAA),representing 10 million or more in sales and stream equivalents in the United States.
QUEEN was the first British band in music history to earn the diamond song award.
Mercury was diagnosed with AIDS in 1987 and battled the disease in private, telling only a select few close friends in the years which followed. He died in November 1991.
Released in November 2018, QUEEN's biopic "Bohemian Rhapsody" has become the highest-grossing musical biopic of all time, bringing in more than $1 billion at the worldwide box office. It was also No. 1 biggest-selling film of 2019 on home release.