Simon Fuller, Jason Flom Among Music Execs Planning to Bid on EMI's Remnant Assets: Sources
Vivendi's Universal Music Group is expected to collect first bids late this year and wrap up the auction in early 2013.
The bidding pool for EMI’s recorded music remnants is growing steadily. The latest potential suitors: veteran music manager and American Idol creator Simon Fuller, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter, while Billboard’s Bill Werde reports that former Bug Music CEO John Rudolph and Lava Records founder Jason Flom have partnered up to “throw their hat in the ring.”
Vivendi-owned Universal Music Group recently won regulatory approval to acquire EMI Recorded Music for $1.9 billion. But it had to promise EU regulators a slew of divestitures.
Fuller has been working on a bid with partners that is likely to focus on the Parlophone label, which includes such stars as Coldplay, Kylie Minogue and Blur. His main partner is Island Records founder Chris Blackwell, but they have been looking to add a financial firm. Sky News reported that they have been in early discussions with investment firm RIT Capital Partners. It wasn't clear on Thursday if and when they would be able to line up a financing partner.
Fuller is expected to position his offer as a strong independent bid that could be popular with artists. Last year, he and Blackwell formed an artist-focused joint venture with plans to grow their music catalog. They later bid for Bug Music, but lost out to BMG Rights Management.
A Fuller spokesman declined to comment on the group's plans and the status of their talks.
Flom is a veteran music executive who spent most of the 90s at Atlantic Records and his own Lava Records working with the likes of Kid Rock and Matchbox Twenty. He jumped ship to Virgin in 2005, eventually taking the top job at Capitol Records Group, where he signed Katy Perry.
Rudolph left Bug in Sept. 2011 just as the independent publisher was acquired by BMG Rights Management in a deal valued at $300 million. Sources tell Billboard Flom and Rudolph are negotiating with potential equity partners.
Said Vivendi on Tuesday: "The sale process of certain EMI recorded music assets is underway, and these divestments are generating robust interest.”
Universal Music hopes to have non-binding bids by year's end, with the process expected to be completed in the first or second quarter. A spokesman didn't comment further.
Among the suitors for all or key assets are believed to be Warner Music Group and BMG.