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add race to sell between WMG, Citi

BUNNY FANCIERS: Citi is countering WMG’s offensive by speeding up the process of selling off EMI, poring over the company’s books to ready it for a sale in short order. The timing matters in that the Big Four’s bottom two will weigh on each others' prospects if they hit the market at the same time, Atkinson points out. For example, Warner will have a tougher time selling Warner/Chappell if it has to compete with the larger EMI Music Publishing. "The challenge is they are both heading towards a situation where they're going to compete for buyers," one high-level music industry source told the reporter. Warner's private-equity backers—Thomas H. Lee Partners, Bain Capital and the previously mentioned Providence Equity—have to decide whether to totally cash out of the music business or just sell WCM. (2/11a)

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