BMG is unlikely to get $2.8 bil for Sony stake

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The split of the Sony BMG merger is virtually a done deal, Billboard.biz has learned.

Well-placed sources said a Bertelsmann supervisory board meeting was convened Friday to examine the sale of the German media giant's 50% stake, with a final decision on a deal expected to be revealed by month's end, following a meeting of the Sony board.

But Bertelsmann's executives ought to brace themselves for the reality of the credit crunch, insiders claim, as its €1.8 billion ($2.8 billion) target price is seen as nearly unreachable in today's economic climate. Insiders say a €1 billion ($1.5 billion) sale is more realistic.

The agreement on Sony BMG, struck in 2004, is set to expire in August 2009, and rumblings from within the Bertelsmann camp have suggested new CEO Hartmut Ostrowski wants to pull the trigger on a deal as soon as possible.

Lars Brandle is global news editor at Billboard.
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