Thursday, February 26, 2009

Hands back money: How much of a mess is EMI in?

Terrible times for Guy Hands and the Terra Firma stewardship of EMI: Hands has had to buy out some of the investors who helped buy the label in the first place.

Still, he's not had to pay much to buy them out. I say "still", although that would imply it's a good thing. In fact, the investors were quite prepared to take a bath on their shares just to be rid of the valueless investment.

Bad Idea explains why it's, well, a bad idea:

taking on the responsibility will increase Terra Firma’s indebtedness once the calls for funding come in - the money will have to come from the fund managers themselves, a rare and strange thing to happen.

It comes as Hands is gearing up to pay Citigroup a £32m quarterly loan payment, and spewing out cliched metaphors concerning his rather worrying portfolio of deals made at the top of the market. He’s noted that “the darkest time is before the dawn”, that he’s “getting out of both sides of the bed” (?), and has compared his pricey investments to ‘83 and ‘87 Bordeaux wines, a comparison that could only be understood by the most ridiculously wealthy people on the planet - at least Hands knows his audience.

To be fair, I think we can all understand the wine metaphor - it costs an absolute bloody fortune, there's every chance the thing has ruined before you get to enjoy it, and once you have the first taste, your asset starts to free-fall in value to almost zero straight away.

[Thanks to Michael M]

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