Warner Proposes To Buy All of EMI, With Indie Group’s Blessing

Feb 20th, 2007 | By | Category: Digital Music, General

warner music groupWarner Music Group Corp. confirmed today that it has approached EMI about a possible acquisition of the entire equity of EMI. Unlike previous hostile attempts at taking one another over (in 2000 and 2003), this proposed acquisition seems to be mutually desirable, with Warner’s confirmation issued in response to an earlier announcement by EMI.

This confirmation also comes on the heels of an agreement between Warner and the Independent Music Publishers and Labels Association (IMPALA), an organization which had previously brought a legal challenge against the 2004 proposed merger of industry giants Sony Music and Bertelsmann’s BMG. (The Sony/BMG merger was quashed last summer by the European courts, but are being reexamined and a decision is expected to be issued by March 1.)

Warner Music Group “believes that there is a compelling strategic, commercial and financial logic in a combination of the two companies and that such a combination should maximize benefits for the shareholders of both companies.”

emi recordsIndustry analysts speculate that the proposed acquisition will boost the beleaguered EMI. The world’s third-largest music company and home to artists Robbie Williams and Coldplay, EMI issued its second profit warning in as many months last week.

Warner, the world’s fourth-largest music company and home to Madonna and recent Grammy honorees Red Hot Chili Peppers, has also struggled recently, reporting a 74 percent drop in quarterly profit. It is thought that the proposed acquisition would give both sides access to more music and the ability to cut costs.

It would also help solve EMI’s historical problem of having the smallest market share of the four music majors in the United States, the world’s largest music market.

IMPALA said it had an understanding with Warner that Impala would support any tie-up in return for support for the independent sector. Warner’s press release says that they will be “providing specified funding for (but taking no equity participation in) the recently announced Merlin initiative, the new global digital rights licensing platform established by the independent music labels to represent the world’s independent music sector.”

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