Warnock May Need To Play Waiting Game

If Neil Warnock retains any interest in buying London’s Helter Skelter agency from Sanctuary Music Group, he may have to play a waiting game as others appear interested in acquiring the cash-strapped parent company in its entirety.

The latest reports have Crosby Capital Partners, an AIM-listed, Hong Kong-based investment and asset management group, among the possible bidders.

But during the course of the last year or so, there are very few potential suitors who weren’t rumoured to be on Sanctuary’s dance card at one time or another.

Warnock, who heads The Agency Group, has already put in one offer, which was knocked back because the price wasn’t right. But that doesn’t mean he’s out of the frame.

Sanctuary chairman Bob Ayling and chief exec Frank Presland may just be holding fire until they’ve explored all the possibilities of shifting Sanctuary lock, stock, and barrel.

The books are said to be open to various parties, with the U.K. financial pages still claiming that Warner Music and Universal are taking a look. However, it remains to be seen if the majors would want to hang on to the agency business.

Even if he can’t persuade the Sanctuary board to offload Helter Skelter, Warnock, who has remained tight-lipped throughout the whole affair, may have more luck with new owners.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Crosby is working in cahoots with the Dubai-based Silk Route Asset Management and with Music Copyright Solutions (MCS), another AIM-listed company in which it has a significant stake.

MCS is co-headed by Guy Fletcher, who has written songs for Tom Jones and Cliff Richard, and represents copyrights for artists including Elvis Presley, Mariah Carey and Pet Shop Boys.

Sanctuary shares are currently at about 16 pence, and the Telegraph reckons any successful bid would need to come in at about 25 pence.