Bronfmans Battle Over Parlophone

The cousin of former Warner Music Group chairman Edgar Bronfman Jr. is believed to be the money behind Simon Fuller and Chris Blackwell’s bid to buy Parlophone, according to Bloomberg.

The business newswire says Claridge Inc., a private equity firm headed by Stephen Bronfman, is in talks with the pop mogul and the Island Records founder about backing their offer for the label that has Coldplay and Kylie Minogue among its acts.

Various newspapers have for months named Fuller and Blackwell among the likely bidders, although most – including Financial Times – have indicated that Lord Jacob Rothschild’s RIT Capital Partners would be coming up with the cash.

If Claridge does back the Fuller and Blackwell bid, it would effectively pit the Bronfman cousins against one another.

Although Edgar Bronfman Jr. stepped down as Warner’s chairman last December following the company’s takeover by Russian oligarch Len Blavatnik, he remains on the company’s board. Warner is also believed to be pitching to buy Parlophone.

Bloomberg says Blackwell Fuller, the company Blackwell and Fuller founded to launch their bid, is also talking to other financial heavyweights including South Korean conglomerate CJ E&M, the entertainment and media arm of CJ Group.

Searchlight Capital Partners, the buyout firm that owns Hunter Boots, is believed to be another of their potential equity providers.

Fuller Blackwell is also reportedly interested in purchasing Mute, Sanctuary and a series of other former EMI labels.
The assets are being sold by Universal Music Group in order to satisfy regulators following its £1.2 billion takeover of EMI’s recorded music arm.

Other potential bidders so far named in the UK’s business papers include Ronald Perelman’s investment company MacAndrews & Forbes, BMG, and Sony Music.

Some business analysts reckon Blackwell Fuller could be well placed because Universal would likely prefer not to send the labels to one of its major rivals.