Raise your hand if you want to buy EMI or Warner Mu­sic

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Music -

Are there any read­ers with a few spare bob who want to buy a sec­ond-hand record com­pany? It’s a good time for any­one who wants to run the rule over la­bel ledgers, with both EMI and Warner Mu­sic on the auc­tion block.

In the case of EMI you’re bid­ding for the whole kit and ka­boo­dle – in­clud­ing The Bea­tles, Cold­play, Go­ril­laz and Katy Perry. Cit­i­group, the US bank that took over the fa­bled Bri­tish mu­sic com­pany from ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist Guy Hands and his Terra Firma group, has re­port­edly de­cided that its best bet is to sell off EMI as one en­tity rather than sep­a­rately flog­ging its record and pub­lish­ing wings.

Mean­while there’s a size­able list of po­ten­tial suit­ors in the ring for Warner Mu­sic. De­spite the fact, as noted by Dig­i­tal Mu­sic News, that Warner Mu­sic has made net losses of more than $10 bil­lion over the past decade, ev­ery­one from mu­sic com­pa­nies Sony and Live Nation to var­i­ous pri­vate equity firms are will­ing to pay $3 bil­lion for the com­pany.

An­a­lysts have ex­pressed their sur­prise at the amount of in­ter­est in the com­pa­nies.

“There is a mu­sic busi­ness and some­where, there is a value,” com­mented Bishop Cheen from Wells Fargo Se­cu­ri­ties to the New York Times.

It is worth em­pha­sis­ing that it is the mu­sic busi­ness – the cat­a­logue of self-in­flicted mis­takes and mishaps should give po­ten­tial buy­ers pause for thought. Af­ter all, didn’t Guy Hands and Terra Firma come into EMI with all guns blaz­ing in 2007 and with the same ideas about iden­ti­fy­ing and ex­tract­ing share­holder value? In­stead, they left with their tails be­tween their legs. Caveat emp­tor.

Katy Perry: up for sale with EMI

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