After much speculation since private equity firm Terra Firma agreed to buy EMI for $4.7 billion, Warner Music Group has now confirmed for the first time it is interested in making a counter offer for the British music label. WMG statement: “Warner Music Group Corp. confirms that it continues actively to consider an offer for EMI Group plc. Such an offer would be pre-conditional on appropriate anti-trust clearances being obtained, or the pre-conditions waived, but not subject to any other pre-condition” (via Reuters).
FT.com reports WMG has been approached by Terra Firma and other private equity groups about a possible sale of its own recorded music division – an option suggested to offset possible EU regulatory concerns about a WMG-EMI tie-up had been to sell off one of the party’s recording arms. This sounds like horse trading by the three groups to weigh up which option has the best chance of succeeding. One opponent WMG would not have to contend with in another EMI offer is Impala, the association of independent labels that so effectively lobbied European authorities against the proposed deal last time around and later dropped its opposition. EMI has until June 27 to sign or back out of the Terra Firma acquisition, which includes a $47 million break clause.