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
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
The cartoon depicts the UK (far left) walking around a Syrian child refugee
newsIn an exclusive artwork for The Independent, Ali Ferzat attacks Britain's lack of 'humanity'
Life and Style
tech
Sport
footballManager attacks Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp after criticism of Diego Costa's apparent stamping
News
video
Life and Style
food + drink
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

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Recruitment Genius: Technical Report Writer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Technical Report Writer is re...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP

£16500 - £16640 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing Finance compa...

Ashdown Group: Client Services Manager - Relationship Management - London

£30000 - £32000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore