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EMI-UMG talks back off

HOLD EVERYTHING: Now, courtesy of FT.com, comes word that EMI has abandoned talks about a rescue deal to sell off its distribution rights in the Americas due to concerns about price, timing and whether the sale could be blocked by Citigroup. Another update on WSJ.com asserts that UMG called off the talks. The deal being discussed with UMG was believed to be somewhat less radical than had been speculated, according to one individual familiar with the matter, and was closer in concept to UMG’s arrangement with Disney. The collapse of the talks brings EMI back to its “Plan A” (as its been referred to internally): using the company’s much-improved stats to convince investors to peel the funds needed to stave off default. EMI had been racing to sign a deal by 4.30 p.m. GMT on what is the last day of the company’s fiscal year, after which it must submit figures for a quarterly test on the loans Terra Firma took out for its 4.2bn buy-out in 2007. We’ve got a feeling this one isn’t over yet. (3/31a)

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