Saturday, April 12, 2008

EMI: Does anyone know how they're doing?

It's hard to judge how Terra Firma's makeover of EMI is going looking from the music end, so it's helpful we get a little peek round the back today. But the financial state of the company isn't much clearer - and that's causing problems of its own.

Citigroup, the bank who put up most of the cash for the buyout, is having trouble selling the loans on:

Citigroup financed Terra Firma’s buy-out of the British music company last year, leaving it with about $5bn in EMI loans – one of its largest single exposures.

The bank tried to include those loans in a $12bn portfolio that it plans to sell at a discount to private equity firms. However, Citigroup was forced to remove the EMI loans from the package after it was unable to provide adequate financial information to potential buyers, people familiar with the matter say.

The assumption watching Guy Hands hacking away at the company has been that he might not know anything about music, but he's good with the finances. It looks a bit like the banks have been watching him doing the finances and assumed everything will be alright because he understands the business.