Simon Fuller is reportedly involved in a consortium to buy the European assets of EMI that are on the block as a result of the divestments pledged by Universal to the European Commission to secure approval for its purchase of the former British major label.
It’s thought Fuller will bid for the EMI units, which include the Parlophone and Chrysalis record labels, via his joint venture with original Island Records founder Chris Blackwell, which was announced in June 2011. According to The Independent, private financiers and a leading mobile telecommunications company will also be involved in the £350 million bid.
Since parting company with his original business 19 Entertainment in 2010, having sold that company to CKX in 2005, Fuller has pursued various music, television, digital and talent management ventures through his new entity XIX Entertainment. Most recently, in the music domain, he formed a JV label with Sony Music called Sign Of The Times.
Quite what the Fuller-led consortium would do with Parlophone et al if it won the bid isn’t clear, though rumour has it the XIX chief himself is particularly interested in the 50% stake in the ‘Now That’s What I Call Music’ franchise, which he reckons has a profitable future as a media brand. It may be that Blackwell would be left to run the rest of the Parlophone business.
A spokesman for Fuller’s firm simply told The Independent: “XIX is a growing company and we’d always be interested in new opportunities in music as they arise. With Simon’s track record over 25 years as Britain’s most successful music manager, we hope his interest in EMI would carry the support of the industry”.
BMG remains the favourite bidders for much of the EMI European assets on the block, though Warner Music may also put in an offer, and others are known to be interested in smaller parts of the business.
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