British music group EMI says it has again received a takeover approach from US rival Warner Music. But EMI said “There is no proposal currently for the board to consider” and no certainty the approach would result in one.
The two firms have repeatedly tried to buy each,
first in 2000 and again in 2003. The latest attempt was last year but ended because of fears that they would not get approval from competition regulators after a European court annulled approval of the 2004 merger of Sony Music and Bertelsmann’s BMG.
Sony and BMG have appealed against that ruling and the European Commission will rule by the end this month. Together they would control almost a quarter of the recorded music market as would a combination of EMI and Warner. Vivendi Universal already has 29%.
The major music groups are arguing that they should be allowed to consolidate because the
growth in legal downloading has not yet made up for the slide in physical sales of CDs.
Warner and EMI have both suffered disappointing sales of even some of their biggest names and the British company last week issued its second profit warning in just five weeks.