Is Facebook, Spotify investor Sean Parker interested in EMI buy?
When Spotify's chief executive Daniel Ek came on stage to share the spotlight with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the F8 conference last week in San Francisco, many believed that the man responsible for this nerd duet was Sean Parker, a thirtysomething Internet investor who has invested in both companies and is estimated by Forbes magazine to be worth more than $2 billion.
Now, Parker is trying to orchestrate another deal -- acquiring EMI Music, according to Wayne Rosso, a music industry veteran and entrepreneur.
Parker, whose lavish party after the Facebook conference drew headlines and celebrities such as Eminem and Bruno Marks, is teaming up with grocery magnate Ron Burkle to put in a bid for EMI, which is being put up for sale by Citigroup, Rosso said on his blog, citing industry sources.
Is Parker about to crash the EMI party? An executive familiar with the bids told the Times that Parker is currently not involved in the auction.
Burkle, who made an unsuccessful run at buying Warner Music Group earlier this year, has been trying to drum up a partner to vie for EMI, according to a music industry executive.
Burkle is estimated to be worth $3.2 billion, according to Forbes magazine. While much of Parker's wealth is tied up in Facebook stock, he has access to cash as a general partner of the San Francisco venture capital firm Founders Fund.
If Burkle succeeds in reeling in Parker, the two would need all the money they can muster, with potential buyers bidding between $3 billion to $3.5 billion for EMI. (Warner was sold for $3.3 billion in cash and debt.) Others lining up to buy EMI include Sony Corp., Universal Music Group, BMG Chrysalis and Warner Music Group.
Citigroup has informed bidders that it wants their best offers by next Wednesday, so theoretically, there is still time for a Burkle-Parker bid to gel.
-- Alex Pham
Photo: Sean Parker in 2002, talking about a social networking company he founded, Plaxo. Credit: Paul Sakuma / Associated Press