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Hands says that without EMI Terra Firma would have been branded “geniuses”

By | Published on Monday 22 November 2010

The boss of EMI owners Terra Firma, Gary ‘The Guy’ Hands, recently gave his first public speech since losing his big lawsuit against US bank Citigroup, in which he accused the bankers of tricking him into buying the dead weight music company back in 2007.

Speaking at a Superinvestor conference in Paris, Hands admitted that his EMI adventure had been bad for the reputation of his equity group, which had enjoyed much success with its previous investments before buying into the record industry in 2007. He said he and his team of tedious City types would have been “considered geniuses” for putting in place such a good portfolio of investments ahead of the economic meltdown of 2008 had he not, of course, plunged a billion into EMI and left the flagging music firm saddled with a three billion load debt to a bank he is no longer talking to.

Hands wouldn’t be drawn on the future of EMI, instead preferring to talk about the future of Terra Firma. According to the Telegraph, Hands said he was focused on his group’s next big investment, while pondering on the future of private equity.

On that, he observed: “We need to get back to the basics that made our industry attractive in the past, when we were first branded ‘an alternative investment’. To move forward, the private equity industry in the West needs to accept that the industry will be returning to the norms of most of the last 20 to 30 years, and that the 2004-2007 era was an anomaly”.