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WMG wins Parlophone derby

PARLOPHONE HOME: As many predicted, Warner Music money man Len Blavatnik has written the biggest check--487 million--and won the derby for Parlophone, the shiniest prize among the assets being divested by UMG as an EU-stipulated condition of its acquisition of EMI. The Financial Times reports that Blavatnik's offer "far exceeded those of any rival bidder," citing sources who say the Russian mogul upped the ante by more than $100m. The Parlophone Label Group includes the Chrysalis and Ensign labels and EMI's recorded music operations in an array of European territories. The London paper notes that adding Parlophone's mix of hot current artists (Coldplay, Daft Punk, David Guetta, Danger Mouse) and classic catalog (including Pink Floyd, Tina Turner, Duran Duran, Jethro Tull, Edith Piaf) will help make WMG a "stronger number three," as will cost savings from integration and greater global reach. The deal is expected to be finalized by mid-year, pending regulatory approval. Blavatnik called the acquisition "a very important milestone for Warner Music, reflecting our commitment to artist development by strengthening our worldwide roster, global footprint and executive talent." UMG chieftain Lucian Grainge noted, "Following this transaction, we will continue with our global reinvestment program that is rebuilding EMI and ensuring that the company is able to reach its full potential." (2/7p)

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