Warner Music Group Conditionally Exits EMI Bidding

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Warner Music Group officially removed itself Tuesday from the bidding for EMI Group Plc, a move that follows a number of flighty overtures.

In a tersely worded statement, the company indicated that it “has decided not to make an offer for EMI,” though Warner left the door open to a possible bid within the next six months.  EMI may become a purchased good within that time period, though the rough-and-tumble M&A terrain could easily produce some surprises.  Earlier, Terra Firma Capital Partners reaffirmed an offer of 265 pence per share, a bid that translated into a valuation of 2.4 billion pounds ($4.9 billion) at the time.

Shareholder support has been slight following the Terra move, in part because of other possible offers.  The conditional removal of Warner allows Terra to rally more support, though other potential bidders – including a consortium led by ex-EMI Group chief executive Jim Fifield – remain in the running.  In its statement, Warner indicated that it was likely to make a counteroffer “in circumstances where an announcement is made by or on behalf of EMI or a third party,” and referenced a group that “for the avoidance of doubt includes Mr. Jim Fifield.”  EMI shares most recently landed at 267 pence on the London Stock Exchange.

Story by news analyst Alexandra Osorio.