Below is a memo from EMI CEO Roger Faxon to his staff, circulated today and obtained by Billboard.biz, In the letter he discusses both the sale of the company’s record company division to Universal Music Group and the fact that its publishing division’s expected to sell to Sony Music Entertainment “shortly.” Music fans should make note of this change because it represents big changes happening in the industry making and distributing the music that we all know and love. Until Universal’s acquisition EMI was one of only 5 major music conglomerates making and distributing most of the music we know and love. (EMI, Sony Music Entertainment,Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group, & Disney Music Group)
If EMI will now be owned by Universal, “UMG” that means EMI and the labels they own will logically follow the plans of UMG’s agenda. Therefore this will make for one less company fighting to compete for your attention in the music market place. As a result, these happenings could create a significant effect and its echo on the music market place that could either be good or bad. Either way, the good news is that some new big sifts in the industry are going to make it a whole different ball game in the long run anyway. Read Mr. Faxons memo below.
Message from Roger Faxon
“The bids are in, the analysis is done, and the deal has been sealed. So, the time has finally come to tell you the fate of our business. Let me give you the unembroidered bottom line. EMI is to be split, with EMI Music to be acquired by the Universal Music Group. I hope to be able to share more detail on EMI Music Publishing shortly. I have enclosed Citi’s press release for you here.
As all of you know, it was my ambition to keep EMI together as a stand-alone business in pursuit of our shared strategy. But that is not to be, not because there was no one interested, but because at the critical moment the credit markets seized up. With credit spreads widening and little access to debt capital it became difficult for financial bidders to formulate compelling proposals at the right price.
But the enthusiasm of trade bidders remained. They saw great businesses and were willing to step up. In the case of EMI Music, Universal won the day not only on price but also on other critical terms. As for Citi, it has always been clear that they were not long term owners no matter how much they admired our business and our team. In fact that is the reason they initiated the sale process to begin with. So, when faced with an attractive offer from Universal, they decided to sell.
So, the decision has been taken, the two parts of this great business are to move along separate paths. But, before ownership is transferred much needs to happen.
Our biggest task will be to complete the legal separation of the two businesses, which many of you know is not a trivial matter. Equally, Universal will need to clear the necessary regulatory hurdles before they can take ownership. And that too will take time and effort. So, it is likely that EMI will remain much as it is today through and perhaps well past the end of our fiscal year.
So, what is our obligation in the period to completion? It is very simple, to continue to drive each of our businesses to the very best of our ability. That is of course what Citi and Universal want but it is also the right thing for our artists. The promises we have made to each of them are not changed by the sale. While there is no doubt that for many of us the future will feel uncertain – how could it not – we must stay true to those promises. It is what has made EMI what it is and each of us who we are.
We’ll be having a number of calls and townhall meetings over the coming days, but I want to end for now by saying one last thing. You’ve heard me talk a lot about global rights management, and how I believe that this strategy has the ability to change the industry. For me, global rights management is not just a slogan. It is a philosophy built around a simple concept — to do the right thing — to act with passion, humanity and integrity. Over the next months together we will cement the legacy of EMI by our actions. I know I can count on you to play your part. I hope that every one of us will always remain true to that philosophy, both now and in the future.