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"EMI has not received any approach from such a consortium, and has today asked the UK regulatory authorities to obtain clarification of this speculation. There is currently no request from any EMI shareholder to adjourn the (shareholders meeting)."
—EMI press release
OTHER BIDDERS FOR EMI EMERGE, PARTIALLY
Mysterious Trio Mulls Counter-Bid For EMI—Only The Shadow Knows The Specifics
A group of shareholders in EMI Group has asked for a delay in voting on the proposed $20 billion merger with Warner Music Group amid growing expectations of a counter-bid.

The Financial Times on Friday said a consortium of three companies with new media ambitions, based in the United States, Europe and Asia, was considering an unsolicited bid for EMI in recent days. The group said it has growing expectations that a counter-bidder will emerge. The three companies— not any of the existing music majors and, therefore, unlikely to arouse competition concerns—are understood to have been mulling an unsolicited bid for EMI in recent days. The troika believes it could exploit investor dissatisfaction and frustrate the WMG deal by offering a premium to the EMI share price with a largely cash-based bid.

The Financial Times, which quoted no sources, said EMI was poised to hold a special shareholders general meeting on Monday (6/26) to vote on the proposed tie with Warner Music.

But early on Friday, Reuters reported that EMI had moved to squash the speculation brought to light in the Financial Times story. "EMI has not received any approach from such a consortium, and has today asked the UK regulatory authorities to obtain clarification of this speculation," EMI said in a statement. "There is currently no request from any EMI shareholder to adjourn the (shareholders meeting)."

The European Commission decided earlier this month (hitsdailydouble.com, 6/6) to launch a four-month probe into the proposed WMG-EMI joint venture to investigate competition concerns. Authorities in the United States are also looking at the deal. That scrutiny, combined with the news of the mystery counter-bidder consortium, has caused EMI shares to slip into negative ground.

It is widely believed that the 11th-hour bid was revived after it became clear that the proposed WMG-EMI deal was going to be embroiled for several months in antitrust investigations. But, in the Reuters story, analyst Lorna Tilbian asked a pertinent question: "Why would anyone wait until the day before the (shareholders meeting) to launch a bid?"

An unnamed EMI shareholder also quoted by Reuters shared Tilbian's suspicion, saying. "We haven't been approached by anyone, and this (speculation) sounds like nonsense. If there was a counter-bidder willing to pay a nice premium, why would they have waited all this time?"

"The market really doesn't believe at this point that there will be a counter-bid," Tilbian said. "We saw some speculative buying yesterday, but that quickly wore off."

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