BERTELSMANN, the German media group, last night denied it was considering a pounds 6bn merger with EMI, the British music company. Sunday newspaper reports claimed that EMI and Bertelsmann, the world's third-largest media company, had held talks that could lead to a merger or an alliance. A Bertelsmann spokesman said: "The report is nonsense. We deny intentions to co-operate or merge with EMI. We are not in talks and don't have any intentions. Our own music and video unit BMG is big enough and our goal is to optimise BMG's profit.''
EMI admitted there had been one informal meeting between the two companies but said no proposals had been made.
Merger speculation has swirled around EMI - which last year broke off talks with Seagram - for many months. On Friday, its shares surged by 17 per cent on rumours that Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation was considering taking a stake in the company. However, EMI later denied it had been talking to News Corp. A statement read: "EMI wishes to confirm that no such discussions have taken place.''