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Warner and KKR consider EMI break-up bid: report

March 14, 2010

US firm Warner Music has joined forces with private equity giant KKR to consider a bid for British music company EMI, which would break the company up, a newspaper reported Sunday.

Warner and the private equity firm met in recent weeks to discuss the bid for EMI, which has been hit by financial problems and may be put up for sale in summer, said Britain's Sunday Times, without citing a source.

Warner has long coveted rival EMI's recorded music division, and a tie-up would bring together EMI's stable of artists including Coldplay and Robbie Williams with groups such as Red Hot Chili Peppers from the Warner camp.

KKR is reportedly keen to acquire EMI's music publishing arm, which owns the rights to songs such as "Over the Rainbow" and "Santa Claus is Coming to Town."

EMI must devise a rescue plan to persuade investors to put up another 120 million pounds (180 million dollars, 130 million euros) or face being taken over by its lender, Citigroup, in June.

There has not yet been any contact with EMI, which is owned by private equity group Terra Firma, said the Sunday Times, adding a bid was unlikely until the company had resolved the conflict with Citigroup.

Renewed speculation comes days after EMI Music announced the departure of chief executive Elio Leoni-Sceti, who has been replaced by Charles Allen, former boss of British television network ITV.


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