‘American Idol’ Creator Simon Fuller to Bid on EMI Assets

Simon Fuller

(from Billboard.biz, October 8, 2012) Simon Fuller, creator of the American Idol franchise and previous manager to the Spice Girls, has admitted interest in submitting a bid for all the EMI businesses Universal Music Group (UMG) must sell. UMG won regulatory approval of its $1.9 billion EMI Record Music acquisition by assuring European Union (EU) regulators an assortment of divestitures. The bid would be in partnership with Chris Blackwell, Island Records founder who joined Fuller last year with an aim of growing their music catalog.

Fuller recently launched XIX Entertainment after selling 19 Entertainment, in hopes to position his bid as a strong independent offer that would be favored by artists. Spokesperson for Fuller explained, “Given Simon’s track record over 25 years as Britain’s most successful music manager, we hope his interest in EMI would carry the support of the industry.”

UMG is expected to launch its auction soon by asking for initial bids by late November. The sales process is anticipated to continue into early 2013 due to EU typically giving companies six to nine months to sell assets after approval of acquisition.

Other expected bidders of the assets include Warner Music Group, Sony, BMG Music Rights Management, as well as half a dozen private equity firms and independent labels. Warner Music Group insider said that after Lyor Cohen’s exit, the plan is to try and “pick up the 40% of EMI assets that Universal was not able to hold onto.”

The Warner Music Group has admitted distinct interest in the Parlophone roster, which represents such artists as Coldplay, Kylie Minogue, Blur, and Tinie Tempah. WMG’s source assured that the position as a “smaller more nimble entity” will allow it greater freedom and a wider scope to invest in the future.”