EMI on the Block?

Jay-Z Ready to Rule

Monday Morning Leftovers

Bulletin Board

Reprinted with permission from Hits Magazine

November 28, 2006

EMI is in talks with private equity groups that have approached the U.K. company about a possible buyout worth more than £2.5bn (almost $5bn), according to a report in the Financial Times.

The firms, believed to be Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Goldman Sachs, have reportedly approached EMI after its failed merger with Warner Music Group and missed attempt to secure BMG Music Publishing in the recent auction won by UMG. KKR just last week lost out on a bid for Clear Channel's radio holdings, teamed up with EMI for the doomed BMG Music play and unsuccessfully tried to make an offer for Vivendi.

Noting the recent movement in its share price, EMI released a statement this morning that it has "received a preliminary approach for the Company which may or may not lead to an offer being made for the Company" and that "a further announcement will be made if required."

Said Chairman Eric Nicoli in a missive to his employees: "This approach may or may not lead to an offer to acquire EMI. Due to UK regulations, I am unable to give you any further details at this time but be assured that I, and the board, fully intend to act in the best interests of the company.

"As always, the best course of action for us in such circumstances is to remain sharply focussed on delivering our business objectives. This is especially important during what is a critical time of year."

Insiders characterized the discussions as active but in their early stages, and cautioned that other parties might yet emerge or that the talks could break off altogether.

The EMI board rejected a 320p-a-share takeover offer from Warner Music last summer, when it was simultaneously trying to buy WMG. That may be the minimum price at which investors would be willing to sell, although private equity groups would find fewer synergies from a deal than Warner.

Shares in EMI closed down 6½p at 262¼p on Monday, valuing its equity at £2.1bn ($4.1bn). The shares have fallen sharply since July 13, when the EC challenged the 2004 clearance of the merger between Sony and BMG. That ruling scared away executives and investors that the any coupling of EMI and WMG would face a stiff review by Brussels, which may not issue a decision on Sony BMG until next summer.

Although Nicoli has become more receptive to a sale since the collapse of the WMG negotiations, the Financial Times insists there have been no discussions of an EMI management-led buyout, which had been previously rumored.

Analysts at Citigroup estimated last month that EMI Music Publishing could be worth £1.65bn ($3.2bn) in a break-up, compared with a possible £1.36bn ($2.7bn) valuation for EMI Music's recorded music holdings.

HITS magazine is the most powerful information vehicle in the music industry, and is read religiously by all the top executives and everyone else.

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Reprinted with permission from Hits Magazine

November 27, 2006

The results are in and rap lord Jay-Z appears ready to declare the sales throne on the busiest sales weekend of the year.

Thanks to a ubiquitous campaign that included spots for Budweiser, Hewlett-Packard, the NBA and NASCAR, a Clear Channel preview promotion, a 24-hour "Hangar Tour" of seven cities in 24 hours, an appearance on last week's American Music Awards and a record release party in New York shut down by the cops, Jay-Z's Def Jam comeback album Kingdom Come will challenge Rascal Flatts' previous 2006 one-week sales record of 714k earlier this year with a total between 700-730k. Guess he showed us what he got.

American Idol rocker Daughtry's self-titled RCA debut is turning into a real sleeper, beating back both the lovable moptops and the OG with a total that looks to be between 275-285k and could climb higher.

The Beatles' LOVE album on Apple/Capitol, the authorized re-imagining of the Fab Four by producer George Martin and son Giles for the Cirque de Soleil show in Las Vegas appears on track for between 270-280k in sales, which has to be a bit of a disappointment considering how their 1 album dominated the charts at the end of 2000, debuting at #1 with a total of 480k.

Following closely behind is Snoop Dogg's Geffen album, The Blue Carpet Treatment, which appears slated for a one-week total between 265-275k, but may fall short of that. Snoop had his own promo blitz, highlighted by a live MSN webcast of the rapper's concert in San Francisco.

The three are in a four-way race for the runner-up spot behind Jay-Z with Sony Label Group's Now 23.

Another rapper, albeit a dead one, 2Pac's posthumous Pac's Life album on Amaru/Interscope, appears headed for between 160-180k, substantially less than the 430k his last collection did just three years ago.

U2's U218, a collection of singles on Interscope plus two new tracks, including "The Saints Are Coming," their collaboration with Green Day, looks to be in the 125-135k area, followed by Syco/Columbia's Il Divo, with Siempre headed for between 95-105k and Long Island emo band Brand New, making their major label debut on Interscope, with an impressive 75-80k for the colorfully titled The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me.

Hitting the streets tomorrow are Epic's Incubus, TVT's Ying Yang Twins, Star Trak/Jive/ZLG's Clipse and Jive/ZLG's Too $hort.

HITS magazine is the most powerful information vehicle in the music industry, and is read religiously by all the top executives and everyone else.

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Reprinted with permission from Hits Magazine

November 27, 2006

Had enough turkey yet? USC beats Notre Dame and climbs back into the BCS race, the football Giants drop a stunner, America shops until it drops and Michael Richards is signed by Judith Regan for his new book, If I Were a Racist, This Is What I'd Say. With Thanksgiving out of the way, it's just three more weeks until we close up shop for the year...and don't say you thought we've been shuttered since July.

Those dancing penguins proved resilient as Happy Feet topped the weekend box office for the second straight week with $37.9m gross, the 15th film of the year to go over the $100 million mark, followed by Casino Royale ($31m), Déjà Vu ($20m), Deck the Halls ($12m) and Borat ($10.4m), which also went over the $100 million mark in its fourth week of release. Industrywide ticket sales were off only a smidgen from the same weekend a year ago, when the blockbuster Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire fueled a huge box-office turnout. Year to date, box-office revenue is up 5.5% at $8.4 billion vs. $8 billion in 2005 and attendance has climbed 3.9%.

Meanwhile, the L.A. Times reports that Universal is getting cold feet over its $42.5 million commitment to Sacha Baron Cohen for his next project, a film based on his Austrian fashionista character Bruno here. The story says, despite the fact Borat has gone over the $100 million mark at the box office, the lawsuits engendered by the film for civil rights violations and the gay subject matter of the new movie could turn people off.

Jay-Z returned to his hometown for a sold-out show at the Howard Gilman Opera House at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. For the N.Y. Times take, go here.

To read veteran L.A. Times critic emeritus Robert Hilburn's rather fawning profile of Interscope chief Jimmy Iovine, go here.

With nominations ready to be announced a week from Tuesday (12/7), the L.A. Times' Steve Hochman looks into his Grammy crystal ball and sees definite noms for the likes of Bob Dylan, the Dixie Chicks, John Mayer, Mary J. Blige, Corinne Bailey Rae, KT Tunstall, Carrie Underwood, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and more. See his picks here.

The N.Y. Times' Jeff Leeds contemplates the effects of AARP's sponsorship of 80-year-old legend Tony Bennett's current tour here.

HITS' own Roy Trakin received the boldface treatment in the N.Y. Post's prestigious Page Six over the weekend. No, he wasn't canoodling with Nicky Hilton or blackmailing Ron Burkle. Check here.

MUSIC ON TV: Tom Waits on Letterman (CBS, 11:35 p.m.), Katherine McPhee on Leno (NBC, 11:35 p.m.), Driveblind on Craig Ferguson (CBS, 12:35 a.m.) and Jet on Conan O'Brien (NBC, 12:35 a.m.)


In 1964: The Beatles released "I Feel Fine" in the U.K., performed on the British show Ready Steady Go!

In 1964: Mick Jagger was fined $18 for reckless driving in England.

In 1967: The Beatles released Magical Mystery Tour.

In 1969: The Rolling Stones played Madison Square Garden, a show recorded and released as Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out! During the performance, Janis Joplin joined Tina Turner on stage and sang a duet.

In 1970: George Harrison released All Things Must Pass.

In 1971: Led Zeppelin IV entered the Billboard album chart at #36.

In 1981: The Allman Brothers Band and the Grateful Dead canceled a show at Orlando's Tangerine Bowl because only 10,000 tickets had been sold to the 60,000-seat arena.

In 1995: The Beatles' Anthology I set a first week sales record, with 1.2 million copies sold in the U.S.

In 1997: A memorial service was held for the INXS' Michael Hutchence in Sydney.

In 2003: Billboard reported that the Rolling Stones' Licks tour was the second-highest grossing tour of all time, making a total of $300 hundred million dollars.

In 2004: Lil Jon got married in Fajardo, Puerto Rico.

HITS magazine is the most powerful information vehicle in the music industry, and is read religiously by all the top executives and everyone else.

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By Kenny Kerner

Watch for Barry Manilow to release The Greatest Songs of the Seventies to follow up his successful 60's foray. Both Manilow and Rod Stewart have reinvented their careers by dipping into the oldies catalog thanks to Clive Davis.

EMI India recalled copies of the new Slayer CD because, according to one spokesperson, "It depicted Christ as having one eye and an amputated arm."

According to the Hollywood Reporter, demand for digital CDs and tracks is still on the rise. For 2006, Soundscan is reporting physical CD sales down some 8.3% from 2005. However, digital album sales increased a whopping 115% with download tracks soaring 72%.

Country star Terri Clark nixed the opportunity to bare all for the cover of Playboy Magazine. Clark said, "I am a big believer in the beauty of the human body and the notion that sexy is a state of mind more than it's a body type."

The Harry Fox Agency (a music rights licensing organization) and LyricFind (an online legal source for song lyrics) have entered into an agreement for lyric licensing online—such as lyric downloads. HFAs over 30,000 affiliated publishers.

Epic/MJJ/Legacy has released a boxed set called Visionary—The Video Singles chronicling the history of Michael Jackson. The set includes 20 singles including "Thriller," "Billie Jean," "The Way You Make Me Feel," Beat It," and 14 other hits.

Endless Highway: The Music of The Band will be released by 429 Records at the end of January and will feature a host of guest artists paying tribute to one of the most popular American bands of all time. Thus far, participants include John Hiatt, Jakob Dylan, Deathcab for Cutie, Allman Bros. Band, Bruce Hornsby, Rosanne Cash, Josh Turner, Lee Ann Womack, and Blues Traveler.

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