Intellectual property ABS, though often talked up, has never really lived up to the hype, especially as investors became hesitant to venture into the esoteric in recent years. And now the infamous "Bowie Bonds" that got the ball rolling in 1997 are under threat of a downgrade.

David Pullman, founder and chief executive of the New York-based Pullman Group, said the Bowie bonds were designed to give British pop star David Bowie instant access to future royalties from copyrights on a catalog of his songs, while investors would pocket a 7.9% coupon payment over the 10-year average life of the bonds. The predictability of the revenue stream scored a single-A rating.

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