Hey, Warner Music Group is really getting the hang of this whole eBay thing! According to Billboard, the lumbering music company is getting more bids than it thought for both its recorded music division auction and the entire company auction, despite having a pretty low feedback score.
In addition, Warner has also listed its music publishing division, Warner/Chappell (the part of the company typically thought to be the most stable), and has gotten quite a few “best offers” from more than five different companies (“more than five” usually means six in my experience, but what do I know?) The big names thus far include Sony Music, supermarket magnate Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Companies, Platinum Equity, Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries (which already owns 2% of Warner), and good old BMG Rights Management. I guess all but BMG met the reserve with their bids, and BMG came back later with a higher bid after hocking its nicest pair of turntables. The Financial Times has put the range of bids for Warner/Chappell at $1.4 billion to $2.0 billion, which is nice but still a ways away from the “Buy It Now” price of $16 trillion million USD. Oh well. Dream on, Warner.
Last week, financial so-and-sos Bloomberg issued their own report that “more than 10 bids” had been received, although it only actually mentions three. And contrary to the Bloomberg report, Billboard’s word is that Sony/ATV (Sony’s publishing division) did NOT put in a bid for Warner/Chappell. Although, to be fair, its pretty common knowledge that Sony usually likes to wait around until the last 10 seconds of an auction before swooping in to outbid the competition. I’m pretty sure I lost a neon light-up Budweiser sign to them once.
Another absent Warner/Chappell bidder thus far has been Universal Music Group, a.k.a. the current leading market share owners for both recorded music and music publishing. Although, Universal is in talks with Warner to purchase a number of Warner’s global recorded music assets locally via Craigslist instead, which is a convenient way to bypass all of those pesky “regulatory hurdles” that would crop up if it attempted an acquisition of an entire Warner division. Let ALONE the shipping charges. Sheesh.
• Warner Music Group: http://www.wmg.com