Those Citigroup bankers – and that’s not a euphemism, honest – have asked a small group of bidders interested in owning both the electric and musical industries of Great Britain, by which I mean EMI, to submit their final and best possible bids by 5 Oct, according to the LA Times.
As much previously reported, the US bank put the major music company up for sale earlier this summer, having repossessed it from equity twonks Terra Firma back in February. Various parties are known to be interested in buying some or all of the company, including music business rivals Warner, Sony, BMG and Universal, as well as some private equity types and a couple of rich dudes.
There have already been two rounds of bidding in the sale so far, but insiders reckon the bankers are now looking to move to the final stage. It’s thought that those through to the final party include bidders for EMI outright, like Warner and its new owner Access Industries, and those bidding for either recordings or music publishing, such as BMG, Sony and Universal.
Given any sale involving an existing major player in music will come with at least some regulatory concerns – ie will US and European competition regulators want to investigate before green lighting any deal? – it may be that Citigroup, anxious for a quick and simple deal, could still opt for one of the consortiums not involving an existing music firm. Though it’s also known the bank wants to recoup as much as it can from its past investments in EMI, via loans to Terra Firma, and whoever the highest bidder is on 5 Oct could be automatically the successful one.
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