Nick Mathiason: Record giant EMI bids to play on with financier’s £300m retune

Guy Hands

Guy Hands, the controversial City financier behind the crisis-hit company EMI, is preparing to inject £300m to shore up the troubled music label.

The last remaining large-scale British music business has been buoyed by the recent releases of Lily Allen and Coldplay and is sitting on what is believed to be dozens of unreleased Michael Jackson songs, including tracks recorded just before his death with Will.i.am and Akon.

But despite raking in profits from its recorded music wing of £160m, an amount nearly three times that taken in the previous year, EMI is struggling to service its £2.5bn debts.

The multimilllionaire Hands, who moved to Guernsey when Alistair Darling introduced a 50% tax band for high earners this year, is now in negotiations with Citibank over the terms of the proposed cash injection. In return for the £300m, Hands wants the bank to accept a £500m loss on its loans. If the troubled US bank refuses, the future could be bleak for EMI.

Hands bought EMI, a firm founded in 1887 and which has a vast back-catalogue ranging from Edith Piaf to the Beatles, through his Terra Firma private equity group, spending £2.4bn. That was in September 2007, at the height of…

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