DRM-Free Music Giant EMI Agrees to Takeover

EMI, the music group behind Apple's digital rights management free iTunes, has agreed to be bought by private equity firm Terra Firma for £3.2 billion (US$6.4 billion). The deal values EMI shares at £2.4 billion and including debt, it is worth £3.2 billion. EMI said it had received a number of different offers but that the Terra Firma bid was the most "attractive." EMI's directors recommended the 265-per-share offer from Terra Firma be accepted, but the deal must be approved by the firm's shareholders. EMI previously rejected a takeover bid from rival Warner Music, which has previously come out against DRM-free music. Speaking a few weeks ago, EMI wouldn't comment on what might happen to the DRM-free music if the company was bought.

Analysts said the move was likely to bring other bidders into the fray, possibly including Warner Music. EMI has seen sales decline dramatically in recent months and said last week that it had a £260 million loss in the past year. News of the Terra Firma bid sent EMI's shares up 9%. EMI's artists include some of the biggest names in music both past and present: The Beach Boys, Pink Floyd, Janet Jackson, Robbie Williams, Depeche Mode, Iron Maiden, The Rolling Stones, Al Green, Moby and Queen.

News source: PC World

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8 Comments

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No, only songs from EMI artists (and only a more expensive higher bitrate version - $1.30 IIRC). And this DRM-less offer extends beyond iTunes, EMI has been trying to do it with everyone.

I hope the DRM free offer will remain... But it sounds like EMI was careful about that when negotiating, as they rejected the Warner Music lamers. :-p

Actually I'd say the opposite - new ownership typically leads to a new direction and that may lead them back to DRM, which would be a shame. As long as they still release the remastered versions of The Beatles albums, due imminently, then I'll be happy.