Saturday, July 21, 2012

Universal get more time

As the Universal takeover of EMI gets caught up in regulators' worries about monopoly, Citibank have offered Vivendi longer to complete the deal.

The cash was supposed to have changed hands by September; now, to give time for the company to work out how to offload enough parts to keep everyone happy.

Hilariously, Richard Branson is talking about buying back Virgin:

"Richard Branson and Virgin have been assessing how to get back into recorded music business for many years," said a spokesman for Virgin Group. "The potential disposal of Virgin Records by Universal Music offers a wonderful opportunity to recreate a dynamic independent label in the market."
For many years? He can't have been assessing how to get back into music for more than five years, as up until 2007 Branson was part-owner of V2. Which was, erm, sold to Universal.

(It's worth noting that when Branson founded V2, he only owned 5% of it; the rest was held by Morgan Stanley. I know, imagine a record label mostly owned by a bank. Crazy, huh?)

While it might be fun for Richard to buy back Virgin, the failure of V2 should be evidence enough that he doesn't have a magic touch. And V2 was founded in 1996, when the music business still bore a superficial resemblance to the one in which Branson thrived in the early days of Virgin. And while the Virgin Group had a retail network.

However much people might want to believe that Beardie back at Virgin Records is a Leno-returns-to-Tonight story, it's much more likely to be akin to that awkward couple of episodes where Bet Lynch went back to Corrie, look confused and was swiftly written out again.