Sunday, June 12, 2016

EMI: Hands handed arse; tries to save face

It's been a while since we heard about Guy Hands, the man who borrowed large sums of cash to buy EMI and then discovered he wasn't very good at running a record label.

He's been in court this week, trying to blame his failures at EMI on CitiGroup, in a legal case which was basically Hands' Terra Firma going "waah waah, why didn't they tell us".

The fraud case was supposed to last into July - rather like Euro 2016 - but ended somewhat abruptly with a humiliating defeat - rather like England's Euro 2016.

Hands climbed down:

“Terra Firma confirms it unreservedly withdraws its allegations of fraud,” David Wolfson – standing in for lead QC Anthony Grabiner – told the hastily convened court. Terra Firma will also pay the costs of the US bank, likely to run into millions of pounds.

Hands, who had been claiming at least £1.5bn from Citi, had been questioned by the bank’s lawyer for the previous two days, and his evidence had been expected to last into next week. He had faced repeated questions about his recollection of events in 2007 when Terra Firma took over EMI just before the credit crunch and had been accused of having a “hazy memory”.

At one stage during his questioning of Hands, Mark Howard QC, representing Citi, said: “The problem is, Mr Hands, your story is shifting and it is impossible to reconcile these different versions.”
Much as EMI had relied on releasing poorly-conceived best of 'special edition' collections, Hands was trying to sell a bunch of remixes of old material, but the court wasn't really buying.

His case having crumbled underneath him, Hands was left trying to whistle a brave tune:
Hands, who was not in court, said the latest claim had been brought in good faith. “However, it has become evident that our documentation of the fast-moving and complex events, and memories of these events after nine years, are no longer sufficient to meet the high demands of proof required for a fraud claim in court,” he said.

“The matter is now closed,” said Hands, saying that the Terra Firma business he founded in 2003 was looking to the future. “We have an exciting portfolio of companies, a talented and experienced team, supportive and loyal investors and €1bn of capital to invest,” he said.
It's funny, isn't it, that he hadn't noticed he couldn't remember all that "fast-moving" stuff until he'd been taken to pieces on the stand.

And while Hands might believe the matter is closed, that isn't entirely true. Terra Firma have agreed to pick up all of Citi's costs. That Billion of capital might be whittled down a bit in the coming weeks.