EMI sells 13% stake in GWR radio for pounds 80m

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The Independent Online
EMI GROUP, the music company which owns the rights to songs by artists such as The Spice Girls and Robbie Williams, yesterday sold its 13.3 per cent stake in GWR Group, the radio company which owns Classic FM, to focus on its core businesses.

EMI sold the shares to institutional investors at a 28.5p discount to yesterday's closing price of 578.5p. The group will use the pounds 80m proceeds from the disposal to repay borrowings.

Eric Nicoli, EMI's chairman, said: "As stated in our interim results last week, we intend to focus on our music businesses and related areas of new media. Although the outlook for the radio industry in the UK remains positive and GWR is particularly well-positioned to compete effectively, especially in the UK arena, our shareholding in the company did not fall within our strategy and we therefore decided to sell."

EMI owns more than 70 music companies as well as the rights to over 1 million songs. The group last week reported sales up 9 per cent at pounds 1.08bn and pre-tax profits excluding exceptionals up 72 per cent at pounds 86.5m.

Henry Meakin, GWR's chairman, said: EMI has been a supportive shareholder in recent years ... We are glad they have placed the shares with a range of institutions in the London market." EMI shares closed up 1p at 518p.