When is an EMI bid not really a bid?

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.

Today in Music: EMI to be put out of its Terra Firma misery soon?

ColdplayWe’re all a little tired of writing about the imminent demise of EMI, home to the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Coldplay and Robbie Williams,  simply because it hasn’t happened in all  the years of writing it.

Well, the storied British music company might disappear in March if its private equity owner Terra Firma trips an upcoming debt covenant test. Even before that happens the UK’s Observer paper says EMI could be “within weeks”of being owned by Citigroup, to whom Terra Firma owes a truck load of cash with which it used to buy EMI in 2007. It says Terra Firma founder Guy Hands is exploring an option to exit before the March deadline.

And in a sign of Terra Firma’s increasing desperation as the debt deadline nears it appealed a US court decision that dashed its hopes for compensation from Citigroup as my colleague Simon Meads writes here from London. Terra Firma had tried to claim late in 2009 that Citigroup duped it into overpaying for EMI.

EMI Publishing has a dream: diversified revenues with MLK

EMI Publishing, the song publishing arm of EMI Music, has struck an interesting deal with the estate of Dr Martin Luther King Jr to manage the licensing of his words and speeches in recordings and music.

It’s an unusual deal for EMI Publishing, which is best known for managing iconic songs like ‘New York New York’ and ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’ or the songwriting talents of the Arctic Monkeys and Beyonce. This is the first time the company has ever handled speeches and sermons, or in fact any non-song-based intellectual property, according to a spokesman.

Another interesting feature of the deal is that the unit will also handle the online image rights of Dr King. So if, for example, you’re building a website about the 1960s U.S. civil rights movement and you need to use King’s likeness, you might not have to call Getty Images but EMI Publishing.