Indie IMPALA Reportedly OK With WMG/EMI Deal
February 21, 2007 at 5:45 AM (PT)
WMG stunned the industry last night by revealing it has secured the backing of a powerful independent labels lobby in its attempt to take over EMI. WARNER said it had approached EMI about a bid late last month having obtained promises of support from IMPALA, the independents that derailed the merger of BERTLESMANN's BMG with SONY.
IMPALA Pres. PATRICK ZELNIK said the deal would take an embattled music industry from "vicious circle to a virtuous circle" and denied the independents had been bought off. "IMPALA is not for sale," he said last night.
But industry insiders were shocked by the promise to support the merger in return for assurances of funding for the smaller labels' newly launched digital licensing and anti-piracy group, MERLIN. "It just seems outrageous," said one. "It just smacks of an absence of scruples. You either believe in scruples or you don't."
WARNER hopes IMPALA's support will smooth a path through the regulators, which has proved too rocky for most over recent years.