Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Citigroup Takes Control of EMI, Back Catalogues of Beatles, Radiohead, Pink Floyd (C)

That may be the oddest headline I type today.
[dear God let's hope so -ed]

From Director of Finance's The Edge blog:
Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C) may be no better an owner of EMI than Guy Hands’ Terra Firma funds, but at least it is looking for an early exit. The US bank’s seizure of the music group is a lesson in hubris.

True, the EMI fiasco is not on the scale of AOL’s 2000 merger with Time Warner at the top of the dot-com boom. That deal was valued at $165bn but when the bubble burst, $99bn of the value was written off as goodwill turned bad. Hands paid only £3.4bn for EMI in 2006 – ironically beating off Time Warner, which had long courted the British music group.

Terra Firma overpaid, of course, but it did so with money borrowed from Citigroup, which realising it will not recover its loan has now taken possession of EMI, writing off £2.2bn of its debt.

Hands had a long history of tilting at targets but not completing deals – like the person who visibly raises his hand at the start of an auction but drops out as each lot goes beyond his means. What made EMI different is that the directors actually accepted his offer, rejecting Time Warner for fear that bidder would become bogged down in competition inquiries.

Hands appeared to have no more aptitude for managing the Beatles and Pink Floyd than Citi probably has, but even without artists walking out and talking their revenues with them, the financial crisis of 2007 brought valuations back to reality and Hands’ overpayment looked even more unjustifiable. Hands’ high-profile but unsuccessful court case against Citi only highlighted his error....MORE
There is no word on Vikram's plans for the current stable of talent: Alicia Keys, Norah Jones and Kanye West but we learn from Reuters' BreakingViews:
Vikram Pandit can’t rock’n'roll like Guy Hands
Vikram Pandit has been banging his head for years over Citigroup’s financial problems. But that doesn’t qualify him as an expert on heavy metal. So expect the bank to quickly offload EMI, the Iron Maiden-to-Katy Perry music publishing and recording business it seized on Tuesday.

The takeover marks the finale of a four-year cycle of recrimination between the bank and private equity boss Guy Hands. Hands’ London-based Terra Firma overpaid for the business in May 2007, larded on too much debt and then, partly because of cuts needed to meet interest payments, soured relations with EMI’s primary asset — its artists. But Hands also tripled the company’s profit. Some financial wiggle room and a charm offensive might be all a refreshed EMI needs to thrive....MORE
And from Wikipedia:
...In the original usage of the word, "Pandit" refers to a Hindu, almost always a Brahmin, who has memorized a substantial portion of the Vedas, along with the corresponding rhythms and melodies for chanting or singing them.....
Alright kids, it's time to chant along with Uncle Vikram:
Guru Brahma 
Guru Vishnu 
Guru Devo 
Guru Sakshath Parambrahma Tasmai Shri Gurave Namaha