Citigroup Said to Seek First Round of EMI Offers This Month

Terra Firma capital Partner's Guy Hands
Guy Hands, founder of Terra Firma Capital Partners Ltd. Photographer: Michele Tantussi/Bloomberg

Citigroup Inc. plans to seek initial bids for EMI Group by the end of July or early August, and aims to clinch a sale of the record label in a couple months, two people with knowledge of the situation said.

Sony Corp. and BMG Rights Management GmbH have expressed interest in EMI, as has Len Blavatnik, who is leading the $1.3 billion purchase of Warner Music Group, said the people, who weren’t authorized to speak publicly. Universal Music Group and private-equity investor Alec Gores are also interested in EMI, the record label of Katy Perry and Coldplay.

Citigroup, based in New York, will provide offering materials in the next week, once the bidders agree not to disclose confidential EMI data, said the people. The bank took control of EMI in February after its owner, Guy Hands’s Terra Firma Partners Capital Partners, failed to meet the terms of loans used to buy the company in 2007.

EMI announced plans to seek bids on June 20, offering a fresh consolidation opportunity to music companies that have struggled to turn a profit as listeners cut CD purchases. Newer online services such as Pandora Media Inc. and Apple Inc.’s iTunes store produce less revenue for the labels.

Blavatnik, Gores and Universal Music, part of Paris-based Vivendi SA, expressed interest in EMI last month, people with knowledge of the situation said at the time.

BMG Rights, the music venture co-owned by Bertelsmann AG and KKR & Co., is interested in EMI’s music-publishing business, said one person.

Liz Young, a spokeswoman for Sony Music Entertainment, declined to comment. Through a spokesman, Hartwig Masuch, chief executive officer of Berlin-based BMG Rights, declined to comment.

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