Richard Branson Interested In Buying Back Virgin Records
July 17, 2012
Yesterday it was reported that Universal Music Group may sell off Virgin Records as a concession for European approval of the deal to acquire EMI. Now Virgin founder Richard Branson says if the label goes up for sale, he will bid to re-acquire it. Bloomberg reports that Branson would be one of many bidders and has already spoken to Patrick Zelnik, former Virgin executive and European independent label group Impala co-President, about bidding together.
Branson's spokesperson Nick Fox told Bloomberg, "Richard Branson and Virgin have been assessing how to get back into the recorded music business for many years. The potential disposal of Virgin Records by Universal Music offers a wonderful opportunity to recreate a dynamic independent label in the market."
UMG could submit its proposal to the European Commission as soon as today. Bloomberg reports that Impala members voted at a board meeting on Monday to continue their opposition to the UMG-EMI deal. In a new statement released by Impala, the organization's Executive Chair Helen Smith said, "Our board took a clear decision yesterday to continue its opposition to the Universal/EMI merger, rejecting remedies which do not deal with the specific problems set out in the EC's statement of objections. The issue isn't just digital, it's physical and access to media- exposure for new artists, as well as the foreclosure of independents when it comes to signing artists."
As reported on Monday, UMG is likely to divest Virgin Records and EMI Classics to appease the EC regulators. Universal could also sell off the distribution rights for independent label Mute from EMI.