Russian billionaire readies an offer for Warner Music

RUSSIAN billionaire Len Blavatnik is said to be on the verge of making a binding offer for Warner music, the record label behind Madonna and Oasis, in a deal valued at more than $3bn (£1.8bn).

He will lead a consortium of bidders including the Gores brothers, the US billionaire financiers, to buy the company in which he already owns an interest.

Yet a late challenge to the offer could be lodged at the eleventh hour by BMG Rights Management, jointly owned by German music giant Bertelsmann and US private equity firm KKR, and Universal Music Group.

The two are also said to be interested in buying British music label EMI from its creditors, Citigroup, as part of a plot to split up the assets held by both publishing firms.