EMI suitors circle embattled music group ahead of mid-June plan deadline

EMI’s efforts to put in place a new business plan by mid-June could be overtaken by rival bidders contemplating bids although suitors must negotiate a complicated legal spat around the British music company.

Warner Music Group executives are understood to be talking with a private-equity backed joint venture, KKR/Bertelsmann, about forming a joint bid for the firm behind Katy Perry, Coldplay and the Beatles.

Meanwhile rival music labels believe EMI could be open to offers for certain assets, including EMI Classics and the Blue Note jazz catalogue. EMI Japan is also thought to be a possible asset that could be sold.

However, it is understood there were no plans to sell the Classics and jazz businesses and dismissed the suggestion as an old rumour.

The suggestion that EMI’s recording assets could be sold to Warner has been doing the rounds for at least a decade and a deal would finally bring an end to the standoff after the two groups held a series of talks about buying each other. Like other major music groups, EMI has been hit by online piracy and the move to digital sales.