Second Acts

Edgar M. Bronfman Jr., the 48-year-old scion of the Seagram Co. empire, bristles at the notion he is seeking redemption after losing billions of dollars of his family's fortune in the disastrous merger with Vivendi Universal (V ) in 2000. But a $2.6 billion purchase of Warner Music Group (TWX ) by Bronfman and a group of investors could well offer it to him anyway. Bronfman has a good sense of the music business: He helped build Universal Music Group into a powerhouse following the acquisition of Polygram and talked early on about the importance of delivering tunes online. He's even a songwriter himself. Since he'll be running a private company, Bronfman won't be distracted by shareholder concerns as he cuts costs. His real challenge will be trying to stop the steep decline in music sales due to online piracy and file sharing. If Bronfman gets it right this time, he could end up reshaping an industry.

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