It’s not surprising to hear Bertelsmann rumbling about buying EMI Publishing and/or Warner Publishing. It must always have annoyed them that they had to let BMG Publishing go in the wake of the Sony BMG Records merger. Having re-constituted BMG Rights as a replacement publishing vehicle it has grown quickly, but the opportunity to add Warner Chappell and/or EMI would help accelerate growth exponentially.

The question is, how ambitious will they be in their bidding? Bertelsmann have traditionally been very conservative in their bidding. There was a slew of sales of independent record companies in the 90’s – Virgin, A and M, Island, MCA. Bertelsmann was always involved in these car auctions – kicking tyres, but never buying. Sales of publishing catalogues are never just about price, but tradition says Bertelsmann would need to work hard on the other benefits they bring in order to avoid being outbid by competitors again.