[The] board’s apparent refusal to extend the deals of Bronfman and chief henchman Lyor Cohen past their expiration dates in March 2009, has created hope among Warner rank and file that the dysfunctional duo’s raping and pillaging of the company is at long last about to come to an end.

IB BAD EXCLUSIVE: IS THAT FISH YOU SMELL?

Once-Proud WMG Ponders Endgame as Lyor, Edgar's Deals Have a Year Left
The latest bit of Warner Music Group intrigue has Edgar Bronfman’s brother-in-law Alex (“I sold my options in the $20s”) Zubillaga abruptly exiting the company after pocketing north of $3 million last year for heading up WMG’s digital music initiatives.

This surprise (following on the heels of the resignation from the WMG board of Bronfman’s mega-rich Russian crony Len Blavatnik), along with said board’s apparent refusal to extend the deals of Bronfman and chief henchman Lyor Cohen past their expiration dates in March 2009, has created hope among Warner rank and file that the dysfunctional duo’s raping and pillaging of the company is at long last about to come to an end.

Executives within WMG now believe the board has finally figured out that Cohen has neither the talent nor the intelligence to lead the company, and that the man behind the curtain at Def Jam was obviously Russell Simmons.

A key example of Cohen’s ineptitude is the Nickelback dilemma, which comes after Cohen initiated the purchase of 73% of Roadrunner for $73m, neglecting the fact that Nickelback owed just one more LP (not three, as he’s been spinning).

Now, Warner is in the unenviable position of having to shell out elephant bucks in order to keep the band (represented by attorney John Branca) or be left with another bad deal, alongside Bad Boy, Bulldog, the Eagles and Madonna.

Nickelback's four albums have sold a total of more than 16 million in the U.S. alone, including The State (March 2000): 713k; Silver Side Up (Sept. 2001): 5.37m; Long Road (Sept. 2003): 3.37m; All the Right Reasons (Oct. 2005): 6.64m, all but the last (which shifted over in midstream to WMG) through Roadrunner's previous deal with Island Def Jam.

Zubillaga’s exit comes at critical moment for Bronfman, who’s been buffeted by a series of terrible earnings reports and is bracing himself for what could be a headline-grabbing legal battle in the French courts over alleged insider trading. Some theorize that Bronfman, having realized his days at WMG are numbered, has dispatched his brother-in-law to find the next possible opportunity

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