Fuller And Blackwell
In For EMI?

Music entrepreneur Simon Fuller and Island Records founder Chris Blackwell are working on a bid for some of EMI’s record labels, according to Sky News.

The TV news channel says they’re trying to raise money through RIT Capital Partners, the investment trust chaired by Lord Rothschild, in order to buy Parlophone and other labels that Universal was forced to put on the block to get EU approval for its $1.9 billion purchase of EMI.

It’s the second time Fuller and Blackwell’s names have been in the frame. A month ago The Independent said they were partnering on a bid for some EMI labels, although on that occasion the cash was believed to be coming from unnamed private financiers and a leading mobile telecommunications company.

The new Sky version says Fuller, the owner of XIX Entertainment, and Blackwell are talking to RIT and “a number of potential investors” to secure “hundreds of millions of pounds” to take over and run the labels.

Apart from Parlophone, which is home to Coldplay  Blur and Kylie Minogue  the other EMI assets they’re eyeing are reported to include Sanctuary and the Now music compilation series.

EMI had been owned by Citi, the Wall Street bank, which took control of the business from Guy Hands, the financier, after he was unable to service its debt. It then sold it to Universal.

RIT invests in a wide array of businesses and its board members include Lord Myners, the former City Minister.

There are reportedly as many as 90 parties interested in buying either all or some of the labels. 

Sky says people close to the process said the extent of the interest in the EMI assets suggested that Universal might collect more than $800 million for them.

That would mean that effectively Universal has acquired nearly two-thirds of EMI’s most covetable businesses for $1.1 billion.