Williams near huge recording deal

LONDON — British pop megastar Robbie Williams is close to signing a groundbreaking corporate and recording deal with EMI, valued at over $100 million.

Williams is likely to set up a company, yet to be named, to handle all his activities, including recording, touring, endorsements and music publishing.

EMI will take a 25% stake in the venture and has agreed to a worldwide deal for Williams’ next four albums, starting with “Escapology,” due out Nov. 18.

The total value of EMI’s investment in the new company, plus the advances for four albums, is north of $100 million, according to an insider in the negotiations. EMI refused to comment.

Williams has been shopping for a new deal ever since his EMI contract expired with the issue of his last album, “Sing When You’re Winning,” which sold 5 million copies worldwide.

After leaving boy band Take That, he became the U.K.’s top-selling solo artist with a strong international following, but he has yet to make it big in the U.S.

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