Sony Music is again partnering with Bertelsmann's BMG, this time in a bid for Parlophone Records and a number of other EMI properties put on the block by Universal Music. Parlophone is one of the crown jewels from EMI and the label has a roster that features artists such as Coldplay, David Guetta, The Beastie Boys, Lady Antebellum and Sigur Ros.
The two companies had jointly owned the major music group Sony BMG from 2002-2008. According to the Financial Times, they are now hoping hoping that the joint venture will make their bid more competitive. If successful, they will evenly divide Parlophone's assets between the two companies.
The sale of Parlophone is one of the divestments required by EU anti-trust regulators to approve Citigroup's $1.2 billion sale of EMI to Universal last year. According to sources, the Sony/BMG venture is one of about a dozen potential bidders for the label. Other interested parties contemplating bids include, Warner Music, as well as an groups of private equity investors led by Ronald Perelman and Simon Fuller.
Warner, which itself was recently acquired by Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries, aggressively bid for EMI's recorded music and publishing operations last year and the company has since hired Rob Wiesenthal, a former Sony executive as their chief operating officer to help facilitate the deal.
Ironically, starting in 2004, both Sony and BMG were involved in a four-year joint venture Sony-BMG. Originally heralded as a way to save the two companies about $350 million a year, the company's new releases slipped precipitously in the U.S., leading Sony to buy out BMG's share of the of the joint venture in 2008 for $1.2 billion. - via Celebrity Access