EMI announced in a statement Monday that it has "initiated a process to explore and evaluate potential strategic alternatives, including a possible sale, recapitalization or initial public offering," four months after being seized by creditor Citigroup. Writing at the New York Times' Media Decoder blog, Ben Sisario says "a sale is widely considered the likeliest outcome" for the world's fourth largest music company.
It would be the second sale in less than five years for the British music company, which is home to Coldplay, The Beatles, and Katy Perry. In 2007, British private equity firm Terra Firma bought EMI for $8.4 billion. Citigroup supplied $5.5 billion of the debt for that deal. When Citi seized EMI [in February] it wrote off 65 percent of its loan," writes Sisario, "leaving EMI with a far more manageable $1.9 billion of outstanding debt."
With "a valuable music-publishing operation as well as a more volatile recorded-music division" the Wall Street Journal says there will be no shortage of potential buyers, with names like "private-equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and its music-publishing joint-venture partner Bertelsmann AG, and CPP Investment Board" already being floated as potential suitors.