U.S. equity firm joins list of EMI suitors


LONDON -- British music major EMI Group plc said Friday it has received "a number" of approaches for its business.

The company confirmed the situation in a concise statement issued this morning to the London Stock Exchange and posted on EMI's corporate Web site.

"Further to recent speculation," the statement reads, "EMI Group plc confirms that it has received a number of preliminary indications of interest to acquire the company. There can be no certainty that any offer will ultimately be made."

The statement added, "Further announcements will be made if and when required."

Following the news, stock in EMI rose by more almost 10% in morning trading to 249.5 pence ($4.95). EMI has a current market capitalization of roughly £1.81 billion ($4.17 million).

The notice closely follows a Financial Times newspaper report which claimed U.S. private equity firm One Equity Partners had joined EMI's list of suitors.

Without citing sources, the FT said that One Equity, a unit of JP Morgan Chase and Co, had approached EMI with an offer that could value it at more than $6 billion.

Warner Music Group had earlier put forward an offer for EMI which valued the company at roughly £2.1 billion ($4.1 billion). EMI rejected the deal in early March, after its board decided the terms were "inadequate."

EMI and WMG have been in and out of merger dalliances since 2000. Last year, the company issued a string of tit-for-tat buyout offers, which ultimately dissolved when the European Court of First Instance annulled the European Commission's decision to clear the Sony BMG merger.