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Sony bidding for EMI’s half of Now!

By | Published on Wednesday 13 February 2013

Sony Music

While Universal’s decision to sell the Parlophone Label Group to Warner Music, confirmed last week, was the last big deal to come out of the demise of EMI, there are still some smaller sell-offs to occur for the Universal Music Group to fulfil its commitments to European regulators regards its grand EMI takeover last year.

And that includes EMI’s stake in the Now That’s What I Call Music! brand. Universal already has a share of the Now! franchise, and as part of its deal with European Commission regulators agreed to not take full ownership of the compilation series. It was rumoured that Simon Fuller, involved in an unsuccessful bid for the Parlophone Label Group, was also interested in the Now! business, which he thought could be spun off into various other media products.

While Universal says there are now “several interested parties” involved in discussions regards EMI’s slice of the Now! pie, Sky News reckons Sony is favourite to win the bidding in a deal that could be worth tens of millions. Though any EMI asset deal involving Sony will be controversial in the independent community, who hit out when reports suggested the other mega-major was bidding for some of the Parlophone Label Group last month.

While the Now! deal is a much smaller than anything relating to the PLG, with the compilation series reportedly generating sales in excess of £20 million last year, there may still be opposition to the second biggest player in music rights getting hold of half the franchise.