Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Sony/ATV has Submitted Takeover Bid for Warner Music Group

Sony/ATV is Said to Have Submitted Takeover Offer for Warner Music Group

Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, owned by Sony Corp. (SNE) and Michael Jackson’s estate, submitted a bid for Warner Music Group Corp. (WMG) ahead of yesterday’s deadline, two people with knowledge of the auction said.

Sony/ATV made a joint bid with billionaire Ronald Perelman and Guggenheim Partners LLC, said the people, who weren’t authorized to speak publicly. Warner Music yesterday called a board meeting with the aim of picking a buyer in 48 hours, people said then.

The entry of Sony/ATV increases the number of known bidders to three after billionaire investor Ron Burkle decided to walk away last week. Len Blavatnik, a former Warner Music director, and brothers Tom and Alec Gores also submitted bids ahead of the deadline, people familiar with the offers said yesterday.

Sony/ATV’s bid is in the $3 billion range offered by Blavatnik and the Gores brothers, one person said. The company, headed by Martin Bandier, is interested Warner Music’s publishing business, while its partners are focused on recorded music, one of the people said.

Will Tanous, a spokesman for New York-based Warner Music, and Liz Young, a spokeswoman for Sony Music in New York, had no comment. Christine Taylor, a spokeswoman for Perelman’s MacAndrews & Forbes in New York, didn’t respond to requests for comment. Jeffrey Kelley, a spokesman for Guggenheim in Chicago, declined to comment.

Warner Music, which began seeking offers in January, fell 3 cents to $7.37 at 4:15 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The stock has climbed 31 percent this year.

Ownership Breakdown
The record company, home to artists including Cee Lo Green and the Black Keys, has long-term debt of $1.94 billion, according to company filings.

Eight of Warner Music’s 13 directors are executives of Thomas H. Lee Partners LP and Bain Capital LLC, two Boston-based private-equity firms that together hold 51 percent of the company’s shares, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Providence Equity Partners owns 8.3 percent and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Edgar Bronfman Jr. owns about 7 percent.

Source:  http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-05-03/sony-atv-is-said-to-have-submitted-takeover-offer-for-warner-music-group.html

Reporters: Cristina Alesci, Andy Fixmer
editors: Jennifer Sondag, Anthony Palazzo

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