Terra Firma holding on to EMI

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CAMBRIDGE, England -- Private equity venture Terra Firma has no plans to sell ailing recorded music division EMI, despite how badly the company had been run, CEO Guy Hands said Friday.

EMI, which parted company with former CEO Eric Nicoli and finance director Martin Stewart last month, was acquired by Terra Firma for £2.4 billion in May.

"We are determined to keep that part of the business and we are determined to make it viable," he told reporters at the Royal Television Society's annual confab.

Analysts had speculated that the recorded music division would be sold off and merged with another industry player, with Terra Firma retaining the music publishing unit.

In an address to broadcasting execs here, Hands outlined Terra Firma's investment strategy.

"We look for the worst business we can find in the most challenged sector, and we get really happy if it's really, really bad," he told the convention. "EMI, our most recent investment, is a classic example. We're just hoping EMI is as bad as we think it is."

EMI, the world's third-largest music company and home to such artists as Lily Allen and Norah Jones, had seen its shareholder value decimated over the past 24 months as it became a victim of Internet piracy and the growth of digital music. Its shares are expected to be delisted this month.
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