Sony was reportedly left in the dark about Bob Dylan's sale of his hit catalogue to Universal Music Publishing.

Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan

The money-spinning deal with Universal was announced earlier this week, but Sony - the home of Dylan’s longtime label, Columbia - were unaware of what was happening behind the scenes.

A source told the New York Post newspaper's Page Six column: "Sony had international publishing on Dylan for 20 years and they didn’t even know [the catalogue] was up for sale.

"And even with having his masters at Sony, he never even offered it to them."

The agreement is thought to be the biggest in music history, with some reports suggesting it could be worth as much as $300 million.

According to insiders, the move was made possible because Sony executives were never able to build a particularly strong relationship with the music icon.

Meanwhile, Universal recently hailed the move as the "most significant music publishing agreement this century".

Jody Gerson, the chairman and CEO of the publishing company, said: "To represent the body of work of one of the greatest songwriters of all time - whose cultural importance can’t be overstated - is both a privilege and a responsibility.

"The Universal Music Publishing Group global team is honoured to be Bob Dylan’s publishing partner and I especially want to acknowledge [chief operating officer] Marc Cimino whose passion and perseverance were instrumental in bringing this opportunity to us.

"We look forward to working with Bob and the team in ensuring his artistry continues to reach and inspire generations of fans, recording artists and songwriters around the world."

Sir Lucian Grainge, chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group, also stressed the significance of the move, admitting it's given him an "enormous" sense of pride.

He added: "It's no secret that the art of songwriting is the fundamental key to all great music, nor is it a secret that Bob is one of the very greatest practitioners of that art.

"Brilliant and moving, inspiring and beautiful, insightful and provocative, his songs are timeless – whether they were written more than half a century ago or yesterday."

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