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World Business: Buying the Beatles

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The Beatles are not only an institution but a business—and their profits are strictly fabmost. This week they joined the rank of the financial mighty when one of their firms was listed on the London Stock Exchange. The corporation: Northern Songs Ltd., sole publisher of the songs of Beatles John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Northern Songs offered 1,250,000 shares at an initial price of $1.08 each, and the scramble to pick them up was likely to reach Comsat proportions.

Northern Song gets no share of the millions that pour in from Beatle concerts and records, but the copyrights to the 56 Lennon-McCartney songs yield it about $1,400,000 a year in royalties. “McCartney and Lennon,” boasts Dick James, the company president, “are going to be the Rodgers and Hammerstein of the future.” Security analysts who want to chart the stock had better put away their tables and keep a close watch on the youngsters’ Beatlemania.

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