Friday 28 October 2011, 11:54 | By

Universal out of race to buy EMI

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Following those reports yesterday that Warner was now favourite again to buy the EMI record labels, a source close to Citigroup’s EMI manoeuvrings has told Reuters its main rival, Universal Music, has dropped out of the race.

As previously reported, we are expecting word very soon now regarding who the US bank will sell their big music company to, and everyone seems certain that EMI will be split up for sale. It’s long been assumed that, should the big split happen, Warner would get the record companies.

But then, in recent weeks, insiders were saying Universal was ahead in the bidding. But now, it seems, Warner’s new owner Access Industries has come up with a bigger offer price, forcing the French-owned major out of the race.

Reuters yesterday quoted a source as saying, simply: “Universal has dropped out of the bidding for EMI”. Meanwhile other sources close to the sale negotiations were increasingly certain that some sort of announcement about a Warner deal regards the EMI record labels was now imminent.

As for the other half of EMI, the more valuable music publishing company, Reuters’ source said both BMG and Sony/ATV are still in the running, though, as previously reported, it is thought the former have the upper hand simply because it has access to more cash.

While a lot of this remains speculation aided by a few insider gossipers, it does look like this incredibly long drawn out story could be about to reach some sort of conclusion. EMI staffers are sure to be keeping a closer eye on their inbox for that all important memo, while the rest of you should follow twitter.com/cmu, where we’ll announce anything as soon as we hear something more certain than off the record murmurings or informed speculation.

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