Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

When Will Warner Music Group Finally Buy EMI?

life preserverAre Warner Music Group and EMI, which have been circling each other for nearly a decade, finally ready to consummate their relationship?

That’s the obvious question in light of news that both Terra Firma, the private equity group that bought EMI in 2007, and Citigroup, which funded most of the transaction, have written down most of their investments in the music company.

This isn’t a surprise–the move has been a long time coming–but it does open the door for Warner, which restructured its debt with an eye toward making such a deal earlier this year.

Pali Research’s Rich Greenfield thinks that Citi (C) will push to break up EMI and sell Warner (WMG) the record music group, which tends to lose money, and keep the music publishing business, which has been a reliable money maker, even during the industry’s 10-year freefall.

But at this point, I don’t know why Warner couldn’t try to swallow the whole thing. In the past, that deal would have been scuttled due to antitrust issues (and in fact, it was), but the music industry is a different beast right now–a sick beast–and I think regulators would be a lot more forgiving this time around.

[Image credit: beggs]


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work