BBC reports that EMI Group has agreed to be bought by private equity firm Terra Firma for ¬£3.2bn including debt, which is around US$6.3B. The deal isn't confirmed yet, because it is subject to shareholder approval. As BBC noted, EMI's sales have been in decline of late - the company reported a ¬£260m loss in the past year. But interesting to note that EMI chairman John Gildersleeve listed EMI's digital and online strategy as a major reason to sell, because the cash injection will "accelerate the development of its digital and online strategy to fully exploit this long-term growth opportunity".The
You'll recall that EMI announced a compelling DRM-free offering in early April, a move backed by Apple. I have met a few EMI people at past Web 2.0 conferences and I know they have a great deal of interest in web-enabling their music catalog. So EMI's moves in the digital and online arenas are positive. However I should also note that Coldplay's latest CD, X&Y, has been the only CD I haven't been able to put into my iTunes collection recently! And Coldplay are one of EMI's biggest acts (under their Capitol Records label). So there's still room for improvement ;-)
In any case, let's hope EMI's digital drive continues under their new owners. As yet there is little sign of the other big record companies offering DRM-free music, so EMI has been a leader alongside Apple on that front - and for that reason, I'd hate to see them go under.