When is an EMI bid not really a bid?

October 6, 2011

Coldplay's Chris Martin

If you’ve covered the music business as long as some of us there are some news cycle days a decade or two apart which seem to merge seamlessly into each other.

For instance EMI, the storied label and publishing home to artists from the Beatles to Coldplay, seems to have permanently been on sale since time began and sometimes you just wish it would be over as a journalist. With each potential transaction there’s the subterfuge and speculation of unnamed deal sources guiding journalists which way the deal might go and this tends to drag on and on for a while.

So you can can imagine our surprise when a press release crossed the wire this afternoon announcing ex-Universal Music and ex-Warner Music executive Jim Caparro has teamed up with Alliance Warburg Capital Management to make an offer to buy all of EMI Group ‘s music and publishing units.

It was almost too good to be true, which meant we had to ask ourselves a few questions:

1) How come Caparro (now chief executive of Yamani Global Equities) hasn’t ever come up in previous discussions with anyone we’ve spoken with  about this process.

2) Since when did serious bidders for in any sizable transaction put out press releases before a deal was done?

3)  Is it us, or is us or is it unusual that bidders for a business as big as EMI would only have registered their website address for Yamani  just in the last month?

4) Most important of  all wouldn’t Yamani/Alliance Warburg Capital have to sign an NDA if they had put in a formal bid for EMI — thereby preventing them from putting out a press release about it?

We’ve since heard from a good source  that the Caparro group hasn’t seen an EMI presentation let alone done any due diligence. We’re also still hoping to hear from Steven Canady of Alliance Warburg Capital who we left a message for a couple of hours ago.

This isn’t the first time an EMI auction process appears to feature what we can only call an unorthodox  bidder.

Back in 2007 another music veteran ‘Lucky’ Jim Fifield was thought to have prepped a bid for EMI with his private equity partner Corvus Capital to compete with private equity financier Guy Hands’ Terra Firma offer.

The Fifield/Corvus offer never materialized. We hope this Jim (Caparro) is a bit more lucky.

Press release below:

Yamani Global Equities, Inc. Throws Its Hat into the Fray for EMI Group, Plc.

PR Newswire NEW YORK, Oct. 6, 2011 NEW YORK, Oct. 6, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — James Caparro, the Chief Executive Officer of Yamani Global Equities, Inc. in partnership with Alliance Warburg Capital Management® today announced that the company has made an offer to acquire EMI Group, Inc.’s music and publishing Units.

Mr. Caparro commented: “This is the first step in the execution of our turnaround plan to guide EMI’s assets through the integration of our five prong revenue model that will lead the company into providing consumers and customers with music and entertainment services utilizing twenty first century technologies.” Jim Caparro’s background consists of over 25 years of executive management, evaluating business situations along with developing effective solutions.

He founded The Entertainment Distribution Company, The Island Def Jam Music Group which became one of the largest and most profitable record labels in the industry and created PolyGram Group Distribution. His prior experience includes serving as Chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. Elektric – Atlantic Records (WEA).

About Yamani Global Equities, Inc.: Yamani Global Equities, Inc. is a private equity firm focused primarily on companies involved in the sports and entertainment sector. The expertise of the firm’s investment team, strategic partners and Advisory Boards is unparalleled in depth and breadth. In addition, YGE is a leader in strategic sports and entertainment partnering, an invaluable practice to build value in portfolio companies and to accelerate their growth and development.



We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

Peace Chris as a fellow journalist I have been watching the sell of EMI as well. However knowing the history and work ethic and experience of Jim Caparro I think he is an excellent choice as the next owner of EMI, it’s brand and legacy. He has shown that he knows what he is doing and with his innovative mind and experience I can only expect excellence and finally recoupment from any product produced within the confines of the new and improved EMI brand due to his direction.

As for Yamani Global Equities… I as a journalist am researching more about this company. I like their website and their business model. It seems to follow the directive that the American government is realizing and that is small business and new business is what is going to take us out of our recession. Therefore I think they too are a great candidate because they are new and with that probably comes new business models and innovation that is greatly needed within the music and entertainment industry.

Now I’m a little confused with one of your comments. I thought the CEO of Alliance Walburg was Wayne Little. Who is Steve Canady and why is he in your article but not listed in the press release?

Oh and as for the question why people put out press releases there have been tons on the sale of this music industry iconic brand… i guess it’s called scoop. Lastly as for an NDA did you see the new article released today that Warner might pull their bid.. didn;t they sign the same NDA? check out the aritcle: http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-10 -08/warner-music-owner-blavatnik-said-to -consider-ending-emi-offer.html

Well like you I am intrigued by ALL of this. Look forward to your reply.
May the best bidder win!

Posted by ameliaismore | Report as abusive

it’s a bluff by Warner. Universal’s chairman Bronfman is a controler. He first rescued Warner in 2004 from Time, so it goes by. The russian guy is also from drink industries, so they both do a buy ‘n sell strategy to build a super-major, straight ahead of all others.

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive