Warner Music entertains second round of bids, to decide by early April
The bidding for Warner Music Group is heating up, and a decision about the future of the New York company could come as early as the end of the month or early April, according to a source familiar with the bidding process being conducted by Goldman Sachs.
Warner's board of directors has weeded down an initial list of about a dozen bids in the second round of the process, the source said. Among those in still in the running are industrialist Len Blavatnik, supermarket magnate Ron Burkle, Sony Music Entertainment, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and Platinum Equity.
Several bidders may also be interested in snagging EMI Group, which was recently taken over by Citigroup. The bank is widely expected to formally put EMI up for sale in the coming months. Combining with EMI could present some regulatory challenges because they represent the third- and fourth-largest music companies in the U.S., according to SoundScan.
Some of the bids for Warner are for the entire company, which includes its music publishing business and its recorded music division. The company as a whole could sell for $3 billion or more, according to the source knowledgeable about the offers.
If so, that would be more than three times Warner's market capitalization, which is just under $893 million. The company's shares gained 7 cents to $5.95 on Tuesday.
-- Alex Pham