Vivendi CEO Jean-Bernard Lévy confirms his Universal Music business will acquire the EMI record companies: “We are very proud to welcome EMI into the Vivendi family. We all respect the labels within EMI as well as the artists and employees who contribute to its success. They will find within our group a safe, long term home, headquartered in Europe. We plan to acquire EMI’s recorded music division on attractive terms, adhering to our principle of total financial discipline. We are confident that we will be able to create additional value for our shareholders thanks to our knowledge of the industry and our proven track record of successful integration. Lucian Grainge’s personal experience and heritage will be a major asset in making the combined entity a great success”.
Universal Music CEO Lucian Grainge on buying the EMI labels: “This is an historic acquisition for UMG and an important step in preserving the legacy of EMI Music. For me, as an Englishman, EMI was the preeminent music company that I grew up with. Its artists and their music provided the soundtrack to my teenage years. Therefore, UMG is committed to both preserving EMI’s cultural heritage and artistic diversity and also investing in its artists and people to grow the company’s assets for the future. As a result, we will be better positioned to fully capitalise on the many new and exciting opportunities in the current marketplace, and also able to better serve our artists, songwriters and business partners, while offering fans even more choice”.
Citigroup Vice Chairman and EMI Chairman Stephen Volk on the Universal deal: “We believe that this transaction accomplishes Citi’s objective of maximising the value of EMI, giving EMI Music a partner in Universal Music that appreciates EMI’s rich cultural legacy, its incredible stable of musical talent, and its employees who work so hard to deliver successful outcomes for the artists they represent. We are grateful to Roger Faxon, his management team and all of EMI’s staff for the continued success of this business during Citi’s ownership”.
Sony Corp’s Rob Wiesenthal confirms a consortium led by Sony/ATV has bought the EMI publishing business: “EMI Music Publishing is an iconic company with legendary copyrights and world-class executive talent. This transaction reinforces our strategy of building the operational breadth of Sony/ATV Music Publishing while tapping the extraordinary expertise and experience of Marty Bandier and his management team. Access to entertainment content is an important part of a great consumer electronics experience, and the impressive growth of digital music services will help us bring our songwriters’ music to an increasingly wide audience”.
Sony/ATV CEO Marty Bandier, a former CEO of the EMI publishing business, on regaining control of the EMI catalogue: “EMI Music Publishing has some of the best songs and artists in the world. I am excited to be reunited with the incredible songs, writers and people of a company I helped build. Our track record at Sony/ATV over the past four years demonstrates our ability to build a strong platform that sustains significant growth. The opportunity represented by this transaction is both transformative for Sony/ATV and a truly special moment for me, personally”.
Citigroup’s Stephen Volk again, this time on the Sony/ATV deal: “After evaluating all alternatives, we believe that this transaction achieves our objective of maximising the value of EMI for Citi while providing EMI Music Publishing with a partner in the Sony consortium that appreciates this wonderful business, its incredible roster of songwriters both new and old, and its staff who work so hard to deliver successful outcomes for the people they represent”.
EMI CEO Roger Faxon admits to his staff in a memo that the company will be split up as part of the sale: “As all of you know, it was my ambition to keep EMI together as a stand-alone business in pursuit of our shared strategy. But that is not to be, not because there was no one interested, but because at the critical moment the credit markets seized up. With credit spreads widening and little access to debt capital it became difficult for financial bidders to formulate compelling proposals at the right price. But the enthusiasm of trade bidders remained. They saw great businesses and were willing to step up. In the case of EMI Music, Universal won the day not only on price but also on other critical terms. As for Citi, it has always been clear that they were not long term owners no matter how much they admired our business and our team. In fact that is the reason they initiated the sale process to begin with. So, when faced with an attractive offer from Universal, they decided to sell”.
IMPALA Executive Chair Helen Smith confirms her organisation will object to both EMI deals in Brussels as competition regulators review the acquisitions: “Given that Brussels has taken a previous decision that Universal should not be any bigger [when approving its 2007 acquisition of the original BMG Music Publishing], we would expect the sale to Universal to be blocked outright, even if it offers to increase the divestments it is prepared to make. The same applies to the Sony deal. IMPALA will be discussing this in detail at its next board meeting in ten days time”.