Sony has held initial talks to attain a majority stake in EMI Music Publishing, as EMI’s Abu Dhabi-based owner seeks to cash in on the booming market for streamed music.
The Abu Dhabi independent wealth fund has held talks with Sony and approached other possible buyers, including entertainment groups and potential financial bidders. Adding EMI’s wide-ranging catalogue would solidify Sony’s position as the largest music publisher, as paid streaming services multiply and valuations for music copyrights climb.
The Tokyo-based company already owns almost 40percent of EMI and operates the business. Mubadala Investments has begun reaching out to potential buyers for the catalogue of more than two million songs, which includes hits from Beyonce and Carole King. Mubadala has motioned its intent to sell its majority holding and plans to exercise an option that would force Sony to acquire its stake or trigger a sale of the entire company. While that process can’t formally begin until the end of June, the people said, Mubadala is already reaching out to interested parties to gauge pricing.
Mubadala is seeking a valuation of at least $4bn (€3.2bn) for EMI almost double what the Sony-led group, which also includes billionaire David Geffen, paid for the business six years ago. A sale would be the largest music-industry transaction since the last time EMI changed hands.
If the parties fail to reach an agreement, Sony risks losing the catalogue to one of its largest competitors. Billionaire Len Blavatnik, the owner of Warner Music Group who has expressed his interest in EMI.