Poor EMI just can’t seem to find anyone who can actually stick to purchasing them. Following seven failed merger or takeover attempts since 2000, private equity firm Terra Firma was granted a last-minute extension in their attempt to pull off a buyout, as the firm scrambles to arrange affirmative votes from 90 percent of EMI’s shareholders. The “debt crisis” shaking the U.S. market hit Terra Firma financer Citigroup; Citigroup has the option of waiving the shareholder approval requirement, but that outcome seems unlikely at this point. However, behind the financial jargon that’s better suited to the Financial Times than Billboard is a more interesting tidbit: who’s really behind the attempted purchase of EMI?
To add to the drama reports coming from Shanghai suggest that the giant telecom China Mobile Ltd will in the end buy some or all of EMI through Terra Firma and that the Chinese company is on the hunt for other major music acquisitions. A China Mobile spokesperson in Hong Kong has denied the reports.
Other reports in non-state-controlled Chinese media stated that China Mobile, the nation’s largest cellular provider, intended to purchase EMI through Terra Firma, then merge the floundering company with another global music company to be purchased. However, the question must be asked … what are the Chinese seeing in the music industry that no one else seems to? A Chinese company would certainly be aware of the piracy problem, and wouldn’t have to look far for doom-and-gloom reports on the money side of the business. It remains somewhat improbable that the deal in its present form will make it through the initial buyout stage, but if the rumors can be believed to be somewhat true, we might not have to wait long for the Mandopop stylings of Jay Chou to be forced onto shelves next to T-Pain.