Sony has won the backing of both an investment fund in Abu Dhabi and an investment bank in New York for its bid to acquire some or all of EMI, according to the Financial Times. EMI’s current owner Citigroup told bidders they must put in their final offers to buy the London-based music major by end of play yesterday.
Sony’s publishing company Sony/ATV is known to be interested in buying EMI Music Publishing – Sony/ATV chief Marty Bandier having previously run the EMI publishing firm. Though some reckon the Sony record company might also bid for the EMI labels. It’s not clear if that would be done through one big bid or two separate bids, one for publishing and one for labels. Any deal to buy the whole of EMI would be complicated by the fact that Sony does not own its publishing business outright, the Michael Jackson estate still owns the other half.
Access to extra cash will help Sony compete with its rivals in the battle to buy EMI. It’s thought that Sony alone would struggle to compete on offer price with those other bidders with backing from private equity, like BMG, or big business billionaires, like Warner Music.
It’s thought that Citigroup will make an announcement within a fortnight regarding its plans for EMI. With turmoil in the wider markets resulting in less interest than expected for the music firm from private equity and such like, it’s thought the bank might have to accept a lower price for the music company that originally anticipated, unless it is willing to reject all offers and hold off until the economy recovers.
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