Hands Across The Ocean

EMI owner Guy Hands was expected in New York City Sept. 6 in a last-ditch bid to resolve the company’s issue with U.S. banker Citigroup before it reaches court in October.

Britain’s business writers didn’t expect the meeting to be a long one, largely because the UK private equity firm that bought EMI and the banker that lent it most of the money to do so are an ocean apart in their views on the lead-up to the sale.

Hands claims Citigroup misled him into believing there was another bidder and he subsequently ended up paying more than necessary. Citi, which lent Hands’ Terra Firma £3 billion of the £4.2 billion it needed to do the EMI deal, denies any wrongdoing.

A court defeat for Citi could do untold damage to its reputation, while a defeat for Hands may well see him lose control of the UK’s only remaining major music company.

Even with the stakes being that high, UK business analysts don’t expect the mediation process will see either side give an inch.