Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

EMI Still Trying to Avoid Citigroup's Clutches

Citigroup doesn’t own the record label that brings you the Beatles. Yet.

And the company that does own EMI, private equity shop Terra Firma, is trying to keep it that way for a little longer. Terra Firma is appealing a November court ruling it lost against Citigroup, which lent it the money for a terribly conceived $7 billion deal to buy EMI, way back  in 2007.

But barring big legal reversal, it’s hard to see how the bank won’t end up with the keys to the company sooner than later. The U.K. Observer thinks it could happen “within weeks.”

If and when it does, I’m not sure it will make that much difference to the label’s employees, its acts or its customers, who have been dealing with a company in a state of confused stasis for several years.

And the label is also unlikely to stay in Citi’s clutches for long–the most obvious move would be to break the company up and sell the pieces, with Warner Music the logical buyer for EMI’s recorded music group.

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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