Warner Music Group rumored to be among bidders
EMI Group has formally been placed on the sales block.Company announced Monday that its board of directors “has initiated a process to explore and evaluate potential strategic alternatives, including a possible sale, recapitalization or initial public offering.” Move was seen as inevitable since February, when EMI’s assets were taken over by Citigroup, the principal lender in the catastrophic 2007 purchase of the company by U.K. equity company Terra Firma (Variety, Feb. 2). “There can be no assurance that this strategic review process will result in a transaction,” EMI said. However, sale of the troubled firm, still saddled with £1.2 billion ($1.94 billion) in debt after Citi’s February recapitalization, is plainly the most attractive exit strategy for the financial giant. Observers believe Warner Music Group — whose $3.3 billion sale to Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries is pending — will be among leading bidders for EMI’s assets. The recent auction of WMG reportedly attracted at least 10 serious suitors. EMI said further developments would not be disclosed until its board approved a specific transaction.