EMI setback as Bronfman strikes chord with Warner

The British recording giant EMI was pondering a bleak future yesterday after it became clear its bid for the music division of Time Warner was disintegrating in the face of a richer offer from a group of investors headed by the Seagram scion, Edgar Bronfman.

Shares in EMI, which has twice before tried and failed to merge with another of the big recording companies, took a beating, at one time falling almost 11 per cent before recovering slightly on hopes that the Bronfman-Warner deal could yet unravel. They closed down 6.5p at 163p.

The acquisition of both the recording and music publishing interests of Time Warner would represent a stunning turnaround for Mr Bronfman, who has found himself out in the cold since the disastrous sale of Seagram to Vivendi three years ago.

The Bronfman consortium, put together with the children's television mogul Haim Saban and other equity groups, had been considered the dark horse in the race to win the Time Warner assets. But at a board meeting on Thursday, directors of Time Warner agreed to pursue an offer from the group valued at $2.5bn (£1.5bn).

However, all may not be lost for EMI, which previously attempted to merge with Warner Music and, on a different occasion, with Bertelsmann's BMG. Time Warner has given Mr Bronfman only until Sunday to finalise his offer. If the deadline is not met, the media giant could invite EMI back to the table.

Simon Baker, an analyst at SG Securities, said: "This is bad news for EMI. Warner Music is moving further down the horizon, if not disappearing altogether. But it is not out of possibilities and that is why the shares are not down more severely."

Mr Bronfman's involvement in the media industry began in 1995 when he decided that Seagram needed to add fizz to its staid beverages and chemicals portfolio. In a series of multibillion-dollar deals, he took control of Universal Studios and created Universal Music Group, the world's biggest record conglomerate.

He seemed to crash, however, after the sale of Seagram to Vivendi, the French water utility headed by Jean-Marie Messier, in 2000 for $34bn in stock. With Mr Bronfman at his side, Mr Messier envisaged turning Vivendi into a media powerhouse, but the company was soon swamped by debts and a collapsing stock price.

When Vivendi capitulated earlier this year and moved to sell its entertainment interests, Mr Bronfman attempted to buy them back. But he was pipped by General Electric, which already owns NBC in America. Mr Bronfman's media ambitions seemed to have been thwarted for good. By Sunday night, however, he may be firmly back in the saddle.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
A recent rise in net migration has been considered bad news for the Government
voicesYet when we talk about it, the national media goes into a frenzy, says Nigel Farage
Life and Style
Miracle muffin: chemicals can keep a muffin looking good at least a month after it was bought
food + drinkThe alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Sport
Jonny Evans and Papiss Cisse come together
football
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
people
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Evening Administrator

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established early...

Guru Careers: Executive Assistant / PA

£30 - 35k + Bonus & Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Executive Assist...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Application Support Analyst

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Reach Volunteering: External Finance Trustee Needed!

Voluntary post, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Would you ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic