EMI Could Be Sold In Two Months

Whatever stories surface about Citigroup looking at various options for EMI, it still appears as the bank will sell the record label it as soon as it possibly can.

Bloomberg says Citi is on the verge of sounding out potential bidders for the troubled music company with the hope of clinching a deal within a couple of months.

The business newswire reckons Len Blavatnik – who is leading the $1.3 billion purchase of Warner Music Group – is the most likely bidder, followed by Sony, BMG Rights Management, Universal and private-equity investor Alec Gores.

A growing number of business papers have been saying Gores and his investors will mount a serious challenge to Blavatnick and the various global music companies, with some basing the view on “insider information” and others on the fact that he only just came up short when bidding for Warner.

Selling to Gores may also be the easiest option, as the deal wouldn’t have the regulatory baggage that would accompany doing business with Blavatnik.

Citi is believed to be finishing off presentation packs for potential bidders, once those potential bidders agree not to disclose any of the confidential EMI data the packs may contain.

The New York-based bank took over the reins at EMI in February after Guy Hands’ investment firm Terra Firma failed to meet the terms of the loans it had used to buy EMI in 2007.

Apart from what Citi has already lost through its involvement with EMI, there’s also been the cost of kicking out Terra Firma and cutting the company’s debt from $5.43 billion to $1.92 billion.