Monday 18 July 2011, 10:55 | By

Bertelsmann chief: We’ll likely bid for EMI, but probably won’t win

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The boss of German media group Bertelsmann has confirmed his company’s music business, BMG, is likely to bid for EMI, though he doesn’t seem hugely confident it’ll succeed in any attempt to get ownership of some or all of the British major.

Speaking to the Financial Times, Hartmut Ostrowski said he thought Citigroup’s sale of EMI would likely get as much interest as the recent sale of Warner, if not more. Despite being tipped from the outset as a possible buyer for both Warner and EMI, BMG was outbid in the battle for the former.

Although Bertelsmann’s partners on the BMG venture, equity group KKR, remain in acquisitive mood, Ostrowski implied that the figure paid by Access Industries for Warner was too high, and that his music company was not interested in overbidding in order to achieve its growth-by-acquisition strategy.

The Bertelsmann chief indicated that if the bidding for EMI became unviable, BMG would focus its energy back on a series of smaller acquisitions, buying medium-sized rivals, as well as looking to sign artists directly.

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