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The business on...Guy Hands, Founder, Terra Firma

  • @davidprosserind

Hello, Goodbye

Hello Guy Hands, the private equity investor, who founded Terra Firma in 2002 after a stellar career at Goldman Sachs and Nomura, where he made his fortune. And goodbye EMI, Terra Firma's most troublesome investment – if the private equity company doesn't come up with £105m by Monday, it will lose control of the music company, best known as the home of the Beatles.

We can work it out

Not this time. Terra Firma bought EMI with the help of £2.6bn of funding from Citigroup, with whom it has since had a spectacular falling out. A bitter legal spat between the two is ongoing, but unless Citigroup gets its £105m, it can take over at EMI.


Mr Hands has had some, asking investors in Terra Firma to put their hands in their pockets in order to raise the necessary funds to continue the work of turning EMI around. Though nothing is official, the money is thought to have been found.

I feel fine

Don't get carried away. Though Mr Hands is expected to beat this funding crunch, the EMI deal is a long way from being out of the woods. Agreed at the height of the cheap debt bubble, Terra Firma's £4.2bn purchase of EMI now looks to be a monument to the excesses of the highly leveraged takeover culture. This is going to take quite some sorting out.

Can't buy me love

That's another problem. Many of EMI's artists haven't exactly fallen head-over-heels for their label's new owner. There have been high-profile disagreements with some of them, while cost cuts and management shake-ups haven't gone down well at the business itself.

Come together

If only they could. The Citigroup legal action is due in court in the autumn and there doesn't seem much prospect of peace breaking out. And Mr Hands isn't going to be seen in EMI's London headquarters any time soon. Not least because he has moved to Guernsey for tax reasons and sworn not to return to the UK.