Terra Firma closing in on EMI


LONDON -- More than a quarter of music giant EMI's shareholders have accepted Terra Firma's takeover offer, the European private equity firm said Friday.

By 1pm ET Thursday, Terra Firma's proposal had garnered 26.19% acceptance among EMI's total shareholders, the company reported in a statement to the London Stock Exchange.

Although well-down on the 90% required rate of acceptance, today's update represents a vast improvement for Terra Firma, which on July 12 had collected just 3.82% shareholder take-up.

The equity group made clear its intentions for EMI with a 265 pence ($5.21) per share offer back in May 21, valuing the London-based music firm at about £2.4 billion ($4.89 billion).

Terra Firma also said Friday it had extended again its period for other EMI shareholders to accept its offer, this time until a final deadline of 1pm ET on July 29. Any offers accepted after that date will lapse. Previous deadlines passed July 19, July 12 and July 4.

The private equity firm has emerged as the clear frontrunner to seal a buyout deal for EMI. Earlier this week, two possible counterbidders -- Warner Music Group and a group led by former EMI chief executive Jim Fifield -- withdrew from the offer process after baulking on a tight deadline imposed by the U.K.'s Takeover Panel.

EMI's board subsequently called on its shareholders to unanimously accept Terra Firma's offer, which would be largely free from regulatory hurdles.