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Is this the biggest show in town?

Doing business with pop stars and TV writers sounds glamorous, but when Hollywood meets Wall Street there's rarely a meeting of minds. Artists may like the jingle of cash up front, but to securitize their future cashflows they need to have a reason investors can identify with - like tax-avoidance. Antony Currie reports.

The major players

Trading on the wide screen

Losing teams need not apply

"On my desk I have the documents for securitizing the writers' and publishers' future royalty income on a set of record masters. And in my briefcase I've got one which deals with the royalty stream from an author's copyright."

So says David Pullman, head of the structured asset sales division of Fahnestock in New York. It's not quite a boutique ("The bank employs 1,400 people," says Pullman), but neither is it well known. What put it - and him - on the map was the $55 million deal he arranged for rock star David Bowie at the start of 1997. This deal is regarded as the first securitization of future royalty income, and is based on a portfolio of 300 of Bowie's tracks. But while such deals attract the headlines their proportion of total securitizations remains relatively small. According to a March 1997 report from consultants Arthur Andersen the total volume of securities backed by intellectual property assets issued since 1991 stands at just $1.6

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