All posts tagged Citigroup

EMI Round Up: More lawsuits, lost bonuses & licensing merger

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And then there were 3… EMI split, where does it lead?

Universal Music Group and Sony Music continue to dominate the music biz storylines this year with the unpredictable conclusion of the EMI auction, Read more…

Round Up: Dr. Luke Sony Label Deal (Finally) Announced, EMI Auction Drags On & more…

Doug Morris' "new Jimmy"

In a New York Times feature on Doug Morris yesterday, included among the expected platitudes from the new CEO of Sony Music, like describing his plan for the company as simply “to help create the pre-eminent record company in the world,” was the clever and first official disclosure of a new label deal with producer Dr. Luke, which will see the expansion of his current imprint with Sony, Kemosabe Records. The news, which we exclusively revealed back over the summer (with the New York Post picking up the item shortly after), comes with similar overtones as we initially reported, which is Morris is attempting to recreate his successful investment and development of Interscope Records with Jimmy Iovine at Universal Music Group. The new deal, which has been in negotiation for many months, will put the label on equivalent footing as Epic, Columbia and RCA, and also includes exclusivity at Sony for Dr. Luke’s producer services for five years – a component that smacks of Sony’s soon-to-lapse agreement with Rick Rubin, whose production work outside of their label system has been noted by many as part of the arrangements overall failure.  Also central to the Kemosabe deal is the purchase of a significant stake in Dr. Luke’s publishing by Sony/ATV, a move that will give the pubco an interest in what has been Luke’s highly-successful songwriting operation, which includes a stable of of up-and-coming pop composers with numerous chart-topping credits. Observers are drawing similarities to previous high-dollar publishing investments in hitmakers at their pinnacle, like Kara Dioguardi‘s Arthouse Entertainment deal… Meanwhile, Citigroup‘s auction of EMI is dragging on longer than the bank would like, with plenty of spin and speculation surrounding the action for the recorded music division. Last week saw the twist of Warner Music Group owner Len Blavatnik, pulling his bid from the table after Citi wanted him to increase the offer, though many see it simply as a negotiating tactic from the Access Industries owner. In turn, Universal Music Group, who previously was thought to be out of the running, is being touted as potentially back in, with the New York Post reporting the two sides are scheduled to meet today, though UMG’s last offer fell below Blavatnik’s. On the EMI Music Publishing side, the deal is still seen as BMG Rights Management‘s for the taking…  Elsewhere, in related news, David Bowie is reportedly on the verge of leaving EMI, which would end a 15-year relationship that gave the label rights to a large part of his catalog of classic albums. Discussions are said to be taking place with both Universal and Sony… And South African hip-hop enigma Die Antwoord are leaving Interscope Records, seemingly as abruptly as they were signed to the label in early 2010. The group, who has a publishing deal with Sony/ATV, will soon be releasing their second album via their own new label ZEF RECORDZ.

EMI Derby Ramps Up As It Winds Down

EMI auction nears finish line

Numerous recent reports have Citigroup closing a deal (or two) for the sale of EMI by the end of this week, including a New York Post piece today claiming that a fight for the recorded music arm is down to billionaires Len Blavatnik, whose Access Industries now owns Warner Music Group, and MacAndrews & Forbes Worldwide chairman Rob Perelman. On the publishing side, KKR and Bertelsmann-backed BMG Rights Management is being called the clear frontrunner, though Sony still isn’t being completely counted out. New Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Rabe who is said to be making the rounds in New York this week, is very familiar with EMI, previously serving as Bertelsmann CFO since 2006 until his recent promotion, where he kicked the tires on the music group prior to Terra Firma‘s acquisition of the company in 2007 and then again at EMI Music Publishing in 2009, in discussions that likely included Citi as well… As we mentioned back at the outset of summer, Warner Music and BMG all along have been the favorites to end up with EMI’s recorded music and publishing arms, though many other suitors entered the bidding fray as expected as well. Among the many questions we are hearing with regard to the likely new owners of EMI, is the fate of current executives on both sides following a deal – including EMI Group CEO Roger Faxon, WMG’s Edgar Bronfman Jr.Capitol & Virgin NA label prexy Dan McCarroll, EMI Music Publishing’s Big Jon Platt,  BMG’s Hartwig Masuch and Laurent Hubert and many others… Stay tuned.

Bits & Pieces: BMG Rights Management buy Bug Music, EMI auction slows & EU extends life of music copyright

Following reports last week that Spectrum Equity and Crossroads Media, owners of Bug Music, were accepting second round bids for the publishing company, came the news yesterday that KKR-backed BMG Rights Management has snapped up the independent pubco, for a price that is being rumored at $300 million. The acquisition, which is expected to be closed by October, will essentially double the catalog size of the KKR and Bertelsmann joint venture. Bug Music CEO John Rudolph is also reportedly suing the owners of the pubco, over a 2% equity stake in the company which he was promised… Of course, BMG RM is also currently bidding in the EMI auction, with its sights set on the publishing arm. An article in This Is Money over the weekend stated that bidders in the EMI auction are frustrated by Citigroup‘s slow-pace in the process, and believe it is in an effort to give private equity parties enough time to raise cash to remain as contenders given the troubled financial markets… Good news for those vying for EMI, as well as many other record companies, is the decision by the European Union to extend the copyright term on sound recordings from 50 to 70 years. Many point to the mass of popular recordings from the 1960′s by numerous British artists including the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and many others that would begin to come up on term within only a few years, as being a primary reason behind the ruling. While the announcement was made as being a major boon to artists, in protecting works, others see the move as furthering what has been a negative situation for the many older artists and performers in the new digital age. The storyline also parallels that of the current copyright termination issue going on in the U.S., though there is no such reversion clause in the European law.

Bits & Pieces: Just when you thought it was safe to buy EMI, Legal-Eagle Don Henley & Bug Music still for sale

Guy Hands; Looking for answers

Another potential wrinkle appeared in the current auction of EMI this week, with the reappearance of Guy Hands, who is taking legal action to recover documents explaining the basis for Citigroup‘s takeover of the music company in February of this year. According to initial reports, Citi tapped PricewaterhouseCoopers to handle administration of the takeover process, and Terra Firma is now taking action against both parties after previous unsuccessful attempts to acquire a satisfactory explanation. After Hand’s courtroom defeat at the end of 2010, it was believed that the EMI takeover would not come until closer to summer of this year, given the debt-payment schedule, however the bank took action in February, after rumors in January that they were already shopping for buyers. So far Citi’s response to the initial sentiment that this new twist could cause a serious problem for their auction of the music group, was to indemnify all bidders currently pursuing EMI, according to the Financial Times. Some insiders are wondering if this isn’t just more posturing from Hands in an attempt to strike a blow against his former lender, particularly after recent widespread speculation that EMI could fetch a much higher price than originally believed. Considering the scuttlebutt earlier this year was that the abrupt takeover came as a result of threats from his own investors, one in particular, the answer might be yes… This latest development surrounding the EMI auction, comes after talk that the looming copyright termination battle royale, is also effecting the bidding process, though most observers share that neither issue will likely have crippling outcomes… Meanwhile, continuing his rounds with the press as artist-spokesman for the copyright termination topic,  Don Henley speaks to Rolling Stone about the copyright law, options that artists have and how the record companies are not going to take it lying down… And according to the New York Post, independent music pubco Bug Music is taking second-round bids from interested parties, including KKR-backed BMG Rights Management, Ole Music and Imagen among others…

More Bits & Pieces: Former EMI Head Among Bidders for Label, Live Nation Links with Walmart & Lockerz, Palmese Departs & more…

According to an article in the New York Post, private-equity firm Apollo Global Management was among the initial bidders in the Citigroup auction of EMI, with former EMI North America head Charles Koppelman onboard as part of the effort. Those keeping score remember that Apollo recently acquired CKX, who among other properties, owns American Idol production company 19 Entertainment. It’s unclear whether more recent EMI chairman Charles Allen, is among any of the groups who bid on the music company – Allen expressed his interest back in April… A new partnership between Ticketmaster and Walmart was announced this week, with the retail giant set to sell tickets in stores via kiosks, offering fans a “very convenient way to learn about upcoming events, purchase and take home tickets without leaving their neighborhood,” said Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard… Ticketmaster owner Live Nation Entertainment is also reportedly a new investor in e-commerce start up Lockerz, a social-oriented service that allows members to earn points to put toward purchases, which now includes concert tickets. EMI is also ready to begin utilizing Lockerz, in a partnership that will see the label providing up to 10,000 videos to users, according to Insiders point to the Seattle-based service’s alliance with a full-service big name agency as a key component in the new tie-ups in the music space… Elsewhere, today is the last day on the job for RCA EVP of Promotion Richard Palmese, who is expected to head to Azoff Music Management Group in some capacity, reuniting Palmese, Irving Azoff and their middle fingers. As recounted in music business tomes, the two famously worked together at MCA Records during the 80′s and 90′s… And The Guardian examines the “on air, on sale” practice, recently adopted in the UK in an attempt to combat piracy, a policy which apparently has not been embraced by all labels uniformly. Meanwhile, music revenues in the UK were revealed to have dropped by £189 million in 2010.

Bits & Pieces: Citi Receives 10+ bids for EMI, KOL Cancel Tour to Tune of $15million, & more…

Worth more than Warner Music?

The first round bids for EMI are in, with multiple reports pointing to more than 10 offers received for either the whole or individual recorded music and publishing arms of EMI Group, from interested parties including Sony, Universal, Warner Music, BMG Rights Management and a host of private equity groups. At least one analysis this week claimed that Citigroup could possibly fetch more than $4 billion for the company based on a similar multiple used in the recent Warner acquisition. An article in yesterday claims that the current tendered bids range from $3 – $4b, and that between four and six of the submitted offers were for the entire music group. Citi is expected to respond to the opening bidders this week…  While less humorous than last summer’s Kings of Leon bird droppings incident, the band’s cancelation of the remainder of their current U.S. tour dates following an abrupt termination of a set in Dallas last week, may prove much more damaging. takes a look at other recent tour cancelations with somewhat dubious explanations, and according to reports, the KOL cancellation may cost policy holder, Loyds of London, as much as $15 million in payouts to promoters and others affected… The much talked about has secured a $7.5 million financing round led by Union Square Ventures, which has some wondering if the startup will next seek licensing agreements with the record labels and music publishers. Lady Gaga and Kanye West are also reportedly among those who contributed to the funding… And The Shins are following fellow former Sub Pop label mates Band of Horse, in moving from the venerable indie to a new imprint-label deal with Columbia Records for their next release.

Bits & Pieces: Bug Music For Sale Again, First Round Deadline for EMI Bids Set & more…

The owners of Bug Music are once again shopping for a buyer according to a report by Bloomberg this morning, with a target price of between $330 and $400 million for the publishing company. Acquired by a group of investors led by Spectrum Equity in 2006, the pubco was on the block as recently as last year, and while a sale was never completed, presumably due to lack of a high enough bid, insiders share that BMG Rights Management came close to completing a deal. It’s likely that they’ll be among bidders again this time, along with the 30 interested companies, according to the report, including Sony/ATV, which signed NDA’s to receive an offering book for Bug… Of course a higher profile auction is Citigroup‘s unloading of EMI, which has an early August deadline for first round bids now expected, according to reports today. Warner Music has been the front-runner in early EMI sale talks, along with the KKR/Bertelsmann-backed BMG (read our pt.1 and pt.2 posts on that scenario), though a New York Post piece yesterday has Warner’s debt impeding a successful acquisition, and in speaking with the Financial Times over the weekend, Bertelsmann CEO Hartmut Ostrowski cautioned his company wouldn’t get involved in a bidding war for EMI and is only interested in offering a reasonable price. Those in the know still expect both companies to be on the shortlist over the coming weeks… In related news, it was announced today that Access Industries officially completed their acquisition of WMG… And elsewhere, charter sponsors for the U.S. unveiling of Spotify, including Chrysler, Coke, and News Corp’s The Dailyreportedly paid $1 million each to be included in the launch, with their branding prominently displayed in the service, and each getting 10,000 membership codes to giveaway as well.

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