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MERGER DÉJÀ VU
It’s 2000 All Over Again, As EMI Tries to Get in on That Hot Warner Music Action
It seemed like a good idea three years ago, so why not try again? According to several published reports, EMI is about to try again to acquire Warner Music from AOL Time Warner. Bertelsmann and AOL have been in exclusive negotiations about merging their two music businesses (hitsdailydouble, June 12), but that period is now over and EMI isn’t wasting any time making a move.

The reported EMI offer is a cash and shares takeover bid, which is a better deal for AOL, which, like all of us, could use a little dough right about now. The stock stake being offered to Warner shareholders is believed to be in the 20-40% range of the enlarged company. Retaining an interest in the combined unit would allow AOL Time Warner to reap synergy benefits and cost savings. The combined EMI/Warner Music is valued at around $942 million.

It was way back in the heady days of 2000 when the two first started courting. The two flirted, danced, and even kissed, but after a long romance, never went all the way after European Commision regulators insisted that the two not marry (hitsdailydouble, April 16, 2001). Reports suggest that regulators would be more likely to let the two consummate their vows in the current dismal climate of the music biz.

And you thought you’d never hear from Mario Monti again.

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