No outside bid on EMI; vote on

Some shareholders unhappy

LONDON — EMI said late Sunday that a rumored approach from a rival bidder had not emerged and that today’s vote on its merger with Warner Music would proceed as planned.

Weekend reports had acquisitive Spanish telco Telefonica leading a three-company consortium contemplating a $9 billion bid for EMI. Some suggested that Germany’s Bertelsmann could be part of the consortium.

EMI issued a statement Friday dismissing media speculation that leading EMI shareholders had asked for a delay to the company’s extraordinary general meeting in light of the possibility of a new suitor.

EMI’s $20 million marriage to Warner is thought not to sit well with some shareholders. The discontent centers on the loss of control of the company as well as the size of the cash premium offered.

But advance proxy votes thought to represent a significant percentage of EMI’s shareholders were understood to reveal a majority in favor of the deal.

Telefonica’s supposed consortium is said to be looking for content for a new-media business in the American market. Moving before shareholder approval would make an approach much easier.

A nonmusic-industry bidder for EMI would not encounter the intense scrutiny visited upon the link-up of EMI and Warner and compounded by the AOL-Time Warner merger. Two weeks ago, the European Commission extended its review of the creation of Warner EMI Music by up to four months.

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