Is It Warner Chappell Publishing That WMG Really Wants To Sell?
February 24, 2011 at 4:00 AM (PT)
Many industry insiders assumed WARNER MUSIC GROUP was looking to spin off its WARNER CHAPPELL PUBLISHING arm to raise funds to pay down debt, and perhaps make a bid for EMI MUSIC, when they annnounced they had hired investment bank GOLDMAN SACHS in JANUARY (NET NEWS 1/21) to seek out potential buyers for the company.
THE NEW YORK POST confirms that, reporting "WARNER MUSIC is encouraging potential buyers to bid on its publishing division even though the entire company is on the block. The #3 music major is offering suitors debt financing to buy its publishing division, a source close to the process said. The publishing division represents about 15% of WARNER's revenue. So-called 'staple financing' is not available for bidders taking a run at WARNER's larger recorded music division."
The various names associated with any purchase (NET NEWS 2/23) include private-equity firms KKR, through its BMG MUSIC RIGHTS joint venture with BERTELSMANN, billionaire LEN BLAVATNIK, who already owns around 2% of WARNER MUSIC, ZOMBA founder CLIVE CALDER, VIVENDI's UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP and SONY CORP's label group SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT and its song publishing joint venture SONY/ATV PUBLISHING.
Additional private equity firms are also expressing interest, including APOLLO MANAGEMENT and PROVIDENCE EQUITY as well as NETHERLANDS-based music publishing company IMAGEM.