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EMI GROUP, the world's third-largest recorded music company, said first-half profit from operations fell 22 per cent to pounds 39.8m as a recession in parts of Asia and a slumping economy in Brazil dragged down sales. The shares fell 10 per cent last week. EMI, whose recording artists include Garth Brooks, Janet Jackson and the Beastie Boys, has been seeking partners. Speculation has centred on Rupert Murdoch's News Corp and Germany's Bertelsmann, which last week denied plans for a merger.

The results follow months of bad news. There have been a number of departures and EMI says it is seeking a new chairman or CEO.