Sony Music gets Abu Dhabi funds for EMI takeover bid

Global giant Sony Corp is believed to have secured financing from Abu Dhabi’s investment fund for its takeover bid for rival music company EMI, sources said.Sony has financial support from Mubadala, the Abu Dhabi investment fund, and media investment bank Raine, which would put the Japanese firm on a more equal footing with rival bidders including BMG Music Publishing, Ronald Perelman’s MacAndrews & Forbes group, Universal Music and Len Blavatnik’s Warner Music, sources said.

When contacted, Sony declined to comment.

Citigroup, which took over control of EMI after the old owners could not pay their debts, is believed to be seeking USD 3.5-4.0 billion for the UK-based music company.

EMI has labels like Virgin and Capitol under its banner and holds the rights to the catalog of notable artists such as the Beatles and Coldplay.

Sony’s publishing arm, Sony ATV, has been expected to target EMI Music Publishing, valued at USD 2 billion-USD 2.5 billion, but Sony Music, its recorded music business, was said to also be looking at EMI Music, the record label business, which is expected to fetch USD 1.1 billion-USD 1.5 billion.

The deal to acquire the whole of EMI could be complicated by the fact that Sony does not own its publishing business outright, Sony ATV, and the estate of the late Michael Jackson has a 50% participating interest in the company.

Last month, Sony ATV announced its foray into India through a strategic JV with Sony Music India.

EMI’s management has argued for keeping the company’s two halves together, but people close to the bidders believe Citigroup, the lender that seized control of EMI from Guy Hands’ Terra Firma private equity group in February, would split the group to secure a higher price.

Earlier this year, Sony reached the last stage of auction for Warner Music, but lost to Blavatnik’s Access Industries as it struggled to lock down approval from its board in Tokyo and the estate of Michael Jackson, its partner in the Sony ATV music publishing joint venture.

Source: PTI

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