SONY and Bertelsmann, the partners in the SonyBMG music label, are preparing to retain investment banks to examine a deal that would see the German company sell its €1.5 billion to €2 billion (£1 billion to £1.37 billion) share.
Sony is expected to use Goldman Sachs, amid expectations that Bertelsmann will rely on JPMorgan — although Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank are still hoping to be involved.
The operation, which handles song copyrights for Robbie Williams and Coldplay, would attract interest from Universal, whose publishing operation is weak despite its size in recorded music. The less glamorous publishing business is traditionally more profitable than recorded music. EMI is the market leader with a global share of 20 per cent, while Warner Chappell is in second place at about 15.5 per cent.
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