eMusic Owner Looking To Buy Up All Of The Orchard

The Orchard Logo

eMusic owner JDS Capital’s private equity arm Dimensional Associates is negotiating with digital music and video distributor The Orchard to buy up all of the outstanding common stock it does not already own.

Dimensional previously owned The Orchard (NSDQ: ORCD) prior to its 2007 merger with Digital Music Group Inc (DMGI), which saw the ownership structure change but the name remain.

Dimensional still owns a majority of the firm, which lost its CEO and president Greg Scholl in September.

Now The Orchard confirms in an SEC filing that Dimensional offered $1.68-a-share on October 15; after discussions with the board, it’s now offering $1.84 – an offer The Orchard is “reviewing and evaluating”.

But The Orchard says in a follow-up filing that interim CEO Daniel Stein (Dimensional’s CEO) has resigned for an unspecified reason, replaced in the interim by EVP/GM Brad Navin.

Scholl’s resignation to take on the role of president of NBC Universal’s Local Media Platforms, had come during a cost-cutting drive that axed 20 percent of Orchard staff (16 staff, five consultants and temporary workers). The Orchard is competing with digital distributors like IODA.

Orchard stock – already trading way below the 2006, pre-merger high of $26.88 – began falling again in August, to a price of about $1.33 when Dimensional first bid last month. News of the offer bumped the price back up again on Monday.

Bringing eMusic and The Orchard under the same owner would unite two companies at different parts of the online music value chain – one that shifts digital music across networks for labels and one that plays that music to consumers on a subscription basis.

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