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 COWELL SALUTED,
SYCO RE-UPPED

Simon Cowell used his acceptance speech for his MITs Award in London last night to reveal that SYCO has signed a new six-year deal with Sony. SYCO President Sonny Takhar received a special mention for his loyalty, as did Sony Music head Doug Morris, Columbia chief Rob Stringer, Sony International's Edgar Berger, Sony EVP/CFO Kevin Kelleher and CEO of Sony Entertainment Michael Lynton "for being not just colleagues, but friends and supporters," said Cowell. "I'm looking forward to the next six years."

The global music industry was out in force to celebrate Cowell's contribution to music yesterday, with Morris, Stringer, Philip Green, Berger and even Max Hole in the room.

Morris paid tribute to Cowell for being a "complete record man [who] really changed the relationship between music and TV."

£177k was raised during a charity auction for Nordoff Robbins and the BRIT School during the event, which is held in aid of both charities. Labrinth, Leona Lewis and Olly Murs performed, with One Direction making an appearance to present Cowell with his gong.

The award for the most amiable move of the night goes to ex-X Factor U.K. judge and music manager Louis Walsh, who, encouraged/forced by Cowell, bid £20k for the chance to win his seat back on the judges panel for a day.

Cowell admitted he was "completely hammered" but still delivered a succinct and touching speech. "Apart from the hits and the money, which has been good, what's been great about tonight is seeing so many friends," he said. "Over the years we've had so much fun I cannot tell you."

Cowell also paid tribute to producer Pete Waterman for "allowing me to follow you like a dog for two years and teaching me how important songs are, and the man who has made his TV career last 14 years... the person who invented Botox—you have no idea how much money you've made me."

And despite the celebratory atmosphere there were still plenty of UMG execs in the room available for some friendly one-upmanship. On hearing Lucian Grainge's lot had purchased 113 tables, one insider source said Morris bought 114. All for a good cause, of course.

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