NY Post: A Return To Music For Michael Ovitz?
May 25, 2007 at 5:33 AM (PT)
THE NEW YORK POST reports MICHAEL OVITZ is turning to the music industry for his second act. According to several music industry sources, ONE EQUITY PARTNERS, the private equity arm of J.P. MORGAN, was planning to appoint OVITZ Chairman of EMI's board had its bid been successful.
And though ONE EQUITY isn't expected to try to top TERRA FIRMA's 265 pence per share offer for EMI, these sources said there are a number of other private equity firms still debating whether or not to jump into the EMI fray that lack management and could conceivably enlist OVITZ for their teams.
A critical component of his plan called for a massive restructuring of EMI's artist and repertoire department.
Though OVITZ had been working with ONE EQUITY for months, he never signed a contract and is free to hook up with another team bidding for EMI, sources said. Part of the reason for the interest in OVITZ -- who served as a consultant to EMI during and after his tenure at CREATIVE ARTISTS AGENCY -- stems from a business plan for EMI that he mapped out and that was well received when ONE EQUITY shopped it to music, Internet and wireless executives.
"His plan proved out to a point where we thought it could be successful," said one source who saw the plan.
OVITZ's plan, according to sources who saw it, was to essentially build out EMI's talent management capabilities and convert the company from a traditional record label with analog distribution to a digital marketing and promotions outfit. EMI has already treaded lightly down a similar path through innovative deals with ROBBIE WILLIAMS and KORN that give the label a cut of those artists' touring, merchandising and music sales.
"A critical component of his plan called for a massive restructuring of EMI's artist and repertoire department," said a second source.
Music was an early focus of OVITZ's CAA, with a department focused on the sector as early as 1979. OVITZ has repped or brokered deals for such artists as MICHAEL JACKSON, JANET JACKSON, PRINCE and THE SMASHING PUMPKINS. It was OVITZ and ALLEN GRUBMAN who brokered the landmark 1980s deal between MADONNA and TIME WARNER for a record contract, book and movie deal.