EMI taking control of Toshiba venture

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NEW YORK -- Music major EMI Group Plc. might not have sealed the big buyout deal, but it unveiled a smaller deal Thursday to streamline its operations in Japan by taking full control of a joint venture with Toshiba Corp.

Japan's is the world's second-largest music market.

The news of the transaction comes at the end of a year that saw a continued trend of media and entertainment companies clarifying their asset portfolios and either buying full control of or selling their stakes in jointly held businesses.

The company said it entered an unconditional agreement with Toshiba to buy out that firm's 45% stake in their Toshiba-EMI Ltd. venture for ¥21 billion ($178.2 million).

The transaction is expected to be completed by second-quarter 2007. Toshiba can exercise an early completion option, EMI said.

Toshiba-EMI's artist roster includes such local stars as Glay, Kyosuke Himuro, Tomoyasu Hotei, Yumi Matsutoya, Sheena Ringo, Utada Hikaru and Eikichi Yazawa.

For the year ending March 31, the company reported revenue of ¥46.6 billion ($396.5 million).

EMI said the venture "has produced many great artists over the last decades" before adding: "Both EMI and Toshiba believe it is the right time to unify the ownership structure of TOEMI. EMI remains strongly committed to the Japanese music market and its operations there."
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