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Sony and BMG make a joint bid for Parlophone

The $500m bid reunites Sony and Bertelsmann.

The Japanese electronics giant Sony Corporation and BMG, a partnership between Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co and Bertelsmann, have agreed to make a joint bid for Parlophone and other EMI assets that are part of Universal Music Group (UMG).

Around 12 companies are interested in bidding for the British label Parlophone, including Warner Music, which recently appointed the former Sony executive Rob Wiesenthal as COO to strengthen its chances of purchasing the assets.

In 2012, Warner was unsuccessful in its bid for EMI’s recorded and music publishing divisions. 

Also bidding will be a consortium led by Simon Fuller, creator of American Idol, and Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records, and the investment group MacAndrews & Forbes.   

A joint bid will enable Sony and BMG to make a more competitive offer. If their bid is successful, the companies will split the assets without forming another joint-venture firm.

In December 2012, BMG acquired the UK music label Mute. A spokesman from the company told the Financial Times: “We have already demonstrated with our bids for publishing copyrights from Sony and the Mute Records catalogue from Universal that BMG is an active player in the reshaping of the music industry. To that end we will do what is necessary to make any bids as competitive as possible.”