updated 08:15 pm EST, Thu January 20, 2011
Warner Music talks to Goldman for sale and buyout
Warner Music is consulting with Goldman Sachs to at once sell itself off and looking into a buyout of its rival EMI. Sources said on Thursday night that it had reacted to multiple buyers, including professional acquirer Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, making offers by having Goldman start a formal look into the process where it would sell all or just of the company, such as its Warner/Chappell publishing wing. The New York Times' contacts didn't say how close Warner might be to a deal.
More definitive details have had Goldman maneuvering for the possible buyout of EMI. The bank was said talking to EMI debt owner Citigroup and could use a possible default by EMI to buy the struggling label from Citi.
Warner has little pressure to sell itself off as it has weathered the gradual decline of major label music better than most of its competitors. EMI, despite having influence over both current major bands and classics such as the Beatles and Pink Floyd, has been the worst hit.
Any deal with EMI could have a significant effect on digital music by consolidating a large percentage of music under a single label and influencing attitudes towards certain business models. Warner chief Edgar Bronfman has been opposed to Spotify and other usually free, ad-supported music services, instead favoring the pay-per-track of Amazon or iTunes, or else pay-only subscription models of Napster and Rhapsody.