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Does it matter that EMI will likely cease to be British?

By | Published on Wednesday 5 October 2011


Daily Mail City correspondent Alex Brummer has noted that whatever the outcome of the ongoing sale of EMI may be, it looks likely the last major British music company will cease to be UK-owned. Of course, current owner Citigroup is American, but we’ve always known their ownership was to be temporary. And prior to that, whatever you thought of equity geezer Guy Hands, at least he was British.

As previously reported, it’s thought that five (maybe six) bidders will put in final offers for EMI later today – US-based Sony/ATV (half owned by Japan’s Sony Corp and half by the US-based Michael Jackson estate), French-owned Universal Music, German/US-owned BMG, US-based Warner Music (owned by Russian-American Len Blavatnik), US-owned MacAndrews & Forbes and the maybe, a consortium led by American billionaire Ron Burkle.

While most of us probably don’t care as much as the Daily Mail about foreigners buying classic British companies, even the least patriotic among us (and obviously we’re addressing only our UK readers here) will surely agree, if nothing else, that it is a bit of a shame that the big British music company won’t be British anymore.

Of course, if no British companies are interested in buying EMI what are you do to? Well, says Brummer, why not float the music firm on the London Stock Exchange again? He writes: “What a pity that Citigroup seems to have rejected the idea of a flotation that would have brought EMI back to where it belongs – as a quoted enterprise on the London Stock Exchange. That is where a firm with the heritage and back catalogue of EMI should be”.

Well, given that insiders are saying that Citigroup is not going to get the size of bids it was hoping for later today, which may force the bank to hold onto the firm for the time being, perhaps a flotation could be reconsidered in due course. Or perhaps we should just accept that the EMI labels will soon be American, and the publishing catalogue German.