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The WMG board plans to review proposals this week and discuss narrowing the field to six to eight candidates.
BIDS ROLLING IN FOR WMG
Bloomberg Story Reiterates I.B. Bad’s Contention That Edgar Bronfman Plans to Sell Warner/Chappell in Order to Buy EMI
Warner Music has received more than 10 bids since January, when it hired Goldman Sachs to explore takeover offers for all or part of the company, people with knowledge of the process told Bloomberg.  

The bidders for Warner/Chappell reportedly include Sony/ATV and BMG Rights Management, while billionaire financier Len Blavatnik is seeking most of the company.

A sale of Warner’s publishing assets is still the most likely outcome so that Edgar Bronfman can proceed with his plan to make another move on EMI, two of the sources said. But WMG is also said to have received offers for both its U.S. and non- U.S. recorded-music units, and selling more than Warner/Chappell may end Bronfman’s dream of a merger with EMI, the sources said.

UMG chief Lucian Grainge, concluding regulators wouldn’t allow the company to buy Warner/Chappell following Universal Music Publishing’s 2009 acquisition of BMG Songs, is in talks with Goldman Sachs for Warner Music’s recorded music assets in Japan and territories outside Europe, according to one source. Grainge is also believed to be discussing a U.S. distribution agreement.

The WMG board plans to review proposals this week and discuss narrowing the field to six to eight candidates, according to these insiders. Eight out of Warner Music’s 13 directors are executives of Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital, which together hold 51% of the company’s shares. Bronfman holds about 7%.

AGM Partners, an adviser on WMG’s previous attempt to snag EMI in 2007, is also representing Warner on the sale, MD Alan Mnuchin told Bloomberg in an interview, though he declined to comment further.

Others who declined to comment on the story were WMG spokeswoman Amanda Collins, Goldman Sachs’ Andrea Rachman, Sony/ATV’s Jimmy Asci, BMG’s Hartwig Masuch and Blavatnik press contact Michael Sitrick. Grainge was unavailable for comment, said UMG spokesman Peter Lofrumento.

WMG shares closed unchanged at $6.01 Monday. The stock has gained 6.8% this year on news of the Goldman Sachs agreement and rumors of a merger with EMI, and despite yet another negative quarterly earnings report.

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