Giddings Cagey Over Company Sale

John Giddings is open about his Solo Agency being up for sale if the price is right but he’s making it hard to figure who the potential buyers might be.

"I have never met Doug Morris in my life and wouldn’t know who he was if he walked through the door," Giddings told Pollstar, playing down reports that he was already in negotiation with the Universal Music Group chairman and chief exec.

In fact, Giddings makes any sort of deal with a record company sound unlikely.

"Every record company is approaching promoters and agents right now because they want a piece of the live business, but that doesn’t mean to say we have to let them in," he explained. "I’m only interested in doing business with someone who will enhance my business, not somebody who just wants to buy a slice of the pie.

"The record companies weren’t interested when I was booking bands from a Fulham bedsit and they were selling lots of records and swanning around in their ivory towers in New York," he added. "Why should I be interested in them now?"

As for the major live companies, Live Nation, which Giddings was once part of, looks to be as likely a contender as any.

"I’m not going to sell to AEG," he said. He also ruled out a deal with venture capitalists, largely because he feels they would bring fewer benefits to his business than the record companies would.

At press time it wasn’t possible to get comment from Neil Warnock, chief of global independent The Agency Group, on strong rumours that Universal and Warner Music are expressing interest in his company.

A Universal spokesman has declined to comment on whether the Vivendi-owned giant would like to add The Agency Group to Helter Skelter, which it acquired with the purchase of Sanctuary Music Group, and mold it into one company with Warnock as its head.

Prior to Universal buying Sanctuary and Helter Skelter, Warnock made his own unsuccessful attempt to buy the agency.

He’s known to be an admirer of all five of Helter Skelter’s major bookers, who combine to create an impressive roster but haven’t had a company figurehead since the departures of Ian Huffam to X-Ray Touring and Emma Banks to Creative Artists Agency.

A spokesman for Warner Music said the company wouldn’t comment on such a matter and confessed to have not even heard the rumour, which, however prevalent, is all it is at the moment.