Sony eyes a BMG buyout

Bertelsmann seeking $1.5 billion

Sony is looking to spend ¥100 billion ($931 million) on Bertelsmann’s 50% stake in Sony BMG Music Entertainment, according to a report in the Nikkei Business Daily newspaper.

Sony hopes to close the deal making the joint venture into a Sony subsid next month.

Bertelsmann has reportedly asked for as much as $2.5 billion for its stake, but the global credit crisis and slumps in the sales of recorded music have brought that number down. Most recently, Bertelsmann was reportedly seeking $1.5 billion.

Sony Music Entertainment and BMG merged in 2004, mirroring the merger of Universal and Polygram five years prior. Since the mergers, Universal Music Group has always had the top market share in the music biz, and Sony BMG has been the perennial No. 2.

In the past fiscal year, Sony BMG sales dropped 4% to $3.93 billion, while pre-tax profit grew 90% to $257 million.

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