x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Mubadala aims to make sweet music with EMI purchase

The hits of Frank Sinatra, David Bowie and Pink Floyd are part of a musical treasure trove worth more than US$2 billion being bid for by a consortium that includes Mubadala Development.

Bob Dylan will join the likes of Frank Sinatra and Pink Floyd if a group that includes Mubadala buys EMI Group's publishing unit. Getty Images for VH1/AFP
Bob Dylan will join the likes of Frank Sinatra and Pink Floyd if a group that includes Mubadala buys EMI Group's publishing unit. Getty Images for VH1/AFP

The hits of Frank Sinatra, David Bowie and Pink Floyd are part of a musical treasure trove worth more than US$2 billion (Dh7.34bn) being bid for by a consortium that includes Mubadala Development.

The involvement of the strategic investment company owned by the Abu Dhabi Government in the bid was revealed as Sony, the Japanese entertainment giant, sought EU approval for a $2.2bn purchase of EMI Group's publishing unit, a deal that would create the world's second-biggest music catalogue.

A spokeswoman for Mubadala confirmed the company's involvement in the deal.

"The proposed acquisition of EMI Music publishing by Sony and an investor group including Mubadala has been notified to the European Commission," she said. "The parties will continue to engage constructively with the Commission and are confident that the transaction will be approved."

The group also includes Los Angeles impresario David Geffen, 68, who made a fortune founding and selling Asylum Records and Geffen Records. If Sony's bid succeeds, EMI's legendary catalogue would add to the group's portfolio of songs by Elvis Presley, the Beatles and Bob Dylan. Sony/ATV Music Publishing, the joint venture formed in 1995 that is co-owned by Sony and Michael Jackson's estate, will oversee the new business.

Impala, a group of independent record labels, said EU regulators should block both the Sony deal and a bid by Universal Music Group for EMI's recorded music business, because they would increase prices and reduce competition in the music industry.

Impala challenged the EU's 2004 approval for Sony and Bertelsmann to create the Sony BMG record label at the EU courts, forcing a re-examination by regulators. The deal was eventually approved in 2007.

Sony's acquisition of EMI "would increase its negotiating power to an unacceptable extent" over collecting societies that gather and distribute revenues for copyright owners and in negotiating operating terms for the industry, Impala said.

* with Bloomberg News

twitter: Follow our breaking business news and retweet to your followers. Follow us