The Music Business has often liked to do deals where in order to get what you want you have to buy something else you don’t particularly want. If you want to retail the hit CD you have to buy the CD by the up and coming artist too. If you want the hits you have to buy the whole album with its filler tracks too.

No doubt, using this analogy, Citigroup would rather sell EMI off in one go rather than in bits. The Publishing company is profitable and an attractive target for other Major Publishers and Funds. The Record label is a less attractive proposition, as despite extensive restructuring it probably lacks the scale to compete effectively as a Major in a very challenging market.

So, it may be easier to sell the record label bundled up with the Publishing Company, than to find a buyer for it on its own.

However, this bundling strategy only works when there are buyers who are prepared to take on the less attractive part of a deal in order to get the bit that they want. The question here is, is there a buyer around who is in that position? Warner seem to have their own funding issues to deal with. BMG Rights are interested in records as well as publishing, but parent Bertelsmann went to some lengths to offload BMG Records to Sony. Would they be keen to take on a full blown record label again?

It may be that this transaction just has to be unbundled, despite Citigroup’s wishes. Just as you no longer have to buy the whole album to get the track you want, it may be that the Publishing Company will get sold without the record label…..

A reposnse to this article (