At least five parties have been told that they are through to a second round of bidding for some or all of the Warner Music empire, according to the Financial Times.
As previously reported, over ten bids to buy Warner Music assets were received by the major music firm’s bankers Goldman Sachs last month. Most were to buy the Warner/Chappell music publishing business, though at least one was a bid to buy the whole of Warner Music outright. It is thought current Warner Music top man Edgar Bronfman Jr prefers the plan to sell just Warner/Chappell, a transaction which would give his music firm the necessary capital to make a bid for EMI’s record labels when they come up for sale later this year.
According to the FT, the five bidders who have been told their offers will get further consideration by Warner management are Sony’s publishing firm Sony/ATV, the KKR-backed BMG, existing Warner Music shareholder Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries, and private equity types Platinum Equity and Yucaipa Companies. Some of those five have been asked to reconsider elements of their original bids, for example it’s believed BMG has been told to bid higher if it wants to secure the Warner/Chappell business.
Although neither Warner nor any of the potential bidders have made any official statements, and it’s likely to be a few mores weeks yet before any deal is done, many still reckon BMG are favourites to secure Warner/Chappell, with Sony/ATV a close second, though their bid might result in competition regulators taking an interest in the transaction.
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