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Blavatnik Out of EMI Running?

BLAVATNIK’S BLUFF: How’s this for a trick or treat? The Financial Times is reporting that Len Blavatnik, whose Access Industries group bought Warner Music Group earlier this year, has walked away from the auction for EMI, which has thrown Citigroup’s attempt to peddle the U.K. music company into turmoil. This is the second time in the last few weeks the Russian has threatened to cut off negotiations, the last time in an attempt to get the bank to speed up the sales process. Sources say that Blavatnik’s offer of about $1.5bn for EMI’s recorded music division remains below Citi’s preferred sales price. Is Blavatnik playing a last-minute game of Russian roulette or is he really set to take a hike? Does that leave Ron Perelman’s private equity play for the whole company Citigroup’s only remaining hope after UMG ankled negotiations last week? Vivendi allegedly dropped out over the $640 million in employee pension funds they’d have to shell out to make the deal happen. (10/31a)

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