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EMI BOSS RESPONDS TO TERRA FIRMA CASH INJECTION STORY
The Wall Street Journal piece, and subsequent re-reportings of it, were "misleading and inaccurate", according to Leoni-Sceti, though presumably he wasn't referring to our report on the new Terra Firma investment, I mean everyone knows we're the kings of accuracy and, erm, correct leading.
Anyway, it seems that the story, which was basically correct, led to speculation that [a] EMI Music was performing somewhat below the expectations of its owners, [b] there was a danger EMI would default on a Citigroup repayment leading to foreclosure, and [c] the whole thing could lead to Terra Firma having second thoughts about their investment in the music company, making them open to new takeover proposals, perhaps from long-time EMI suitor Warner Music. Those who pay close attention to their CMU Daily will remember we idly speculated the latter.
Anyway, Leoni-Sceti's memo denied any of that was the case.
He said that while Terra Firma had injected some extra cash into EMI - via the company through which is holds its EMI equity, Maltby - the money came from a special fund that was set up by Terra Firma two years ago anticipating that additional funding may be required to help the major music company meet its loan repayment deadlines. Not only that, but Terra Firma's deal with Citigroup, which enabled it to buy EMI in the first place, specifically allowed for such additional cash injections, which are apparently known as 'equity cures'. So, while Terra Firma would presumably prefer not to have to keep propping up its music company, Leoni-Sceti wants it to be known that the equity group anticipated it might have to, and put a system in place to facilitate doing so, right back at the time of its acquisition of EMI.
As for Citigroup's loan, Leoni-Sceti told his staff that Terra Firma had negotiated a very good deal with the bank when it borrowed the cash required to buy EMI, and that as a result the loan arrangement was 'covenant-lite'. This makes it easier for EMI to renegotiate its repayment terms, and harder for the bank to claim any assets if the company defaults. It also enables Terra Firma to make the so called 'equity cure' cash injections, which wouldn't be allowed under stricter more conventional corporate loan agreements. All this figures; the deal was, after all, done pre-credit crunch in that era when banks were entering into all kinds of slack corporate deals, mainly because they were being run by a bunch of delusional idiots who really should have paid more attention in maths class. But that's a problem for Citibank, not Terra Firma or EMI.
As for EMI's financial position, the top man concluded in his memo to his staff: "Thanks to your skill and hard work, EMI Music is delivering strong growth in operating profits and cash flow, and we have maintained market share - despite being in a period of major reorganisation. That period is now behind us, and we are looking forward to an exciting new chapter as we roll out our consumer-focused strategy designed to provide the best service to artists and customers".
Storming. And what an incredibly accurate at not at all misleading bit of reporting from CMU there, don't you think? I give it 18 months till Terra Firma bail.
NEW BEATLES EXHIBITIONS IN HAMBURG AND LIVERPOOL
Yes, the German city has opened a Beatles museum called Beatlemania, cashing in, of course, on the band's short but significant time based in the city, playing residencies at various early 60s Hamburg clubs. Although starting off with the band's pre-Ringo Hamburg days, the exhibition will take visitors through the band's entire career through to break up. The new facility opened on Friday.
Meanwhile, back in Liverpool, the main Beatles museum there, The Beatles Story, has just launched a new exhibition called 'White Feather: The Spirit Of Lennon', which is basically the story of Lennon's relationship with his first wife Cynthia and their son Julian, told by the wife and son. This one tells the story from John and Cynthia's first encounters at Liverpool's art college to their separation and divorce. Have I ever mentioned that Cynthia sat in front of mum at primary school? Look at me, friend of the stars.
In case you wondered what the title of this exhibition is all about, it relates to a story of coincidence in Julian Lennon's life. He recalls how as a child "one of the things my father said to me was that, should he pass away, if there was some way of letting me know he was going to be OK, or that we were all going to be OK, it would involve, in some way, shape or form, presenting me with a white feather". About ten years ago, while touring Australia, a group of Aborigines by chance presented Lennon Junior with a white feather while asking him if he would speak up for their plight. Because of the link to his father's earlier somewhat vague comments, that incident motivated him to set up The White Feather Foundation, an environmental and humanitarian charity. And hence, also, the name of this show.
Commenting on the exhibition, Julian Lennon told reporters: ''John Lennon is an idol to millions of people who grew up loving his music and ideals, but to me he is the father I loved and lost. I hope this exhibition lets people see another aspect of his life and our time together as a family. This collection represents something of great importance to us as it is part of our history".
SPECTOR JAILED FOR 19 YEARS
As expected, the legendary producer was sentenced in an LA court on Friday. And Judge Larry Fidler endorsed the prosecution's argument that Spector should receive a minimum sentence of 19 years, 15 years for the murder, and four years for related gun crimes. As previously reported, the defence had been pushing for a sentence as low as three years, despite the statutory minimums.
Technically speaking Spector's sentence is 19 years to life, meaning he can't be paroled before 19 years, but could actually spend even longer in jail. Though that would assume he'll live past the age of 88 anyway, which few think he will.
Spector's main hope, then, is a successful appeal. The producer's legal people have already let it be known that he will appeal, with main lawyer Doron Weinberg maintaining Spector was convicted based on wholly circumstantial evidence - mainly the various testimonies from former girlfriends of how the producer could go a bit loopy when alone with women and guns. Spector, of course, maintains that Clarkson shot herself.
OSBOURNE SUES FOR CUT OF BLACK SABBATH NAME
That said, Osbourne now claims that he has been trying to negotiate a share of the Black Sabbath trademark off Iommi for the best part of three years, and says he has only launched legal proceedings because out of court negotiations have failed. The lawsuit seems to say that Iommi's original claim to complete ownership of the Black Sabbath name was false, adding that the value of the band's brand in 2009 has a lot to do with the management of it by the Osbourne clan since Ozzy returned as the outfit's (almost) full time frontman in 1997.
The lawsuit is looking for a 50% stake in the trademark, plus a cut of the money Iommi made using the name pre-1997 (from the early 90s era mainly, I think). Despite that fact, Osbourne is reported as saying he'd like the Black Sabbath name to be owned equally by the band's four founder and current members, so that's Geezer Butler and Bill Ward as well as Osbourne and Iommi.
Iommi is yet to respond.
TICKET RESELLER SAYS GERMAN RULING NOT SIGNIFICANT
As previously reported, it was claimed last week that the German court had banned Ventic from reselling tickets to upcoming Depeche Mode dates. The ban was based on the fact the terms and conditions of the original tickets forbid them to be resold. More than that, if and when Ventic or their parent company Smartfox Media deliberately bought Depeche Mode tickets directly off promoters MLK or their approved ticketing agent, with the intent of reselling them, and without admitting that fact to the primary ticket seller, they were guilty of "fraudulent purchase".
However, a spokesman for Smartfox has told Billboard that while a temporary injunction did forbid the sale of any Depeche Mode tickets via Ventic, the final ruling only banned the resale of tickets that could be shown to have been acquired by this process of "fraudulent purchase". It did not forbid Smartfox from enabling third party individuals to resell their tickets, at a mark up, nor to buy chunks of tickets off other third parties with the intent to reselling them via their Ventic website.
Billboard quote the Dutch company's CEO Martin Josten thus: "Smartfox Media is allowed to continue selling tickets for the group Depeche Mode through the Ventic platform. The interim injunction has now been cancelled in some key points and limited to very specific tickets, [so] no longer plays a role in practice".
This means the courts have OKed the resale of tickets by individuals or touts providing the reseller does not "fraudulently purchase" the original tickets in the first place. Although in theory that is limiting, because it means only those who genuinely intended to attend a gig but, for some reason, can't are allowed to put tickets onto the resale market, the fact it doesn't ban the secondary selling of tickets altogether makes the whole thing hard to police. Unless a tout buys unusually high numbers of tickets in one transaction, the effort of proving any one ticket on the secondary market was bought through a "fraudulent purchase" probably isn't worth it.
All of which means the German ruling is not as helpful as it first seemed to those in the live music industry who resent the growth of the online ticket touting sector, and the number of ticket resale agencies and websites profiting from that growth. MLK and VDKD are yet to comment on Josten's claims regarding the Munich court ruling.
As previously reported, Depeche Mode will resume their European tour, previously halted by frontman Dave Gahan's ill health, in Germany on 8 Jun.
LOVE SAYS AMEX DEBTS RELATE TO FRAUD CLAIMS
As expected, Love says the debts relate to her previous allegations of identity theft against her, her late husband Kurt Cobain, and the Cobain estate. Fraudsters have run up the debts, she claims, and AmEx should accept responsibility for that, because it was their lax security processes that let it happen.
Love's lawyer Keith Fink explained their position in a statement, commenting: "AmEx knows the claim has no merit. We have told them this for a long time. Amex's lax policies allowed fraudulent transactions to be charged to my client's card. I retained one of the country's best private investigators, John Nazarian, who looked at the alleged charges and corroborated they were fraudulent".
DOHERTY, ETC, LINE UP FOR LMHR
Doherty played a four track set which included Libertines track 'What A Waster', in which he changed one line of the lyrics to "you two bob racist cunt" to take in the anti-racism theme of the event. He was then joined by Babyshambles colleague Drew McConnell for a rendition of 'Last Of The English Roses' before going on to perform the tracks 'Albion' and 'Time For Heroes'.
Elsewhere, Jon McClure of Reverend And The Makers, who played songs from his band's new album during their set at the event, told NME.com: "The Britain I know is the one of harmony where we live together and alongside each other, the idea of the BNP repulses me. But there's a feeling here that we can change things, it's exciting times".
RISE AGAINST RELEASE CONTROVERSIAL SINGLE
Frontman Tim McIlrath explains: "'Hero Of War' is the story of one soldier, not all soldiers, as he battles not just the war around him, but the war that rages within. Inspired by true events, we were given the choice to either document the tribulations of these times as they unfold around us, or ignore them. To ignore these problems, in our opinion, is letting down the brave men and women who risk everything".
He continued: "'Hero Of War' is our attempt to lift the stigma that surrounds everything from the skyrocketing suicide rate of troops, torture, internal sexual abuse, an under-funded VA, and the growing number of military personnel fighting Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as they return home. We hope this song and this video help the simmering dialogue about these problems evolve into a rolling boil".
The track is out on 8 Jun in the UK. The video is here.
JAPANESE LYRICIST ISHIMOTO DIES
The writer of around 4000 songs, Ishimoto's career spanned six decades, and his lyrics were familiar to multiple generations. His first hit was 'Akogare no Hawaii Koro', recorded by Haruo Oka in 1948, and he went on to write lyrics for Japanese singing megastar and 'living national treasure', the late Hibari Misora.
It was in the early eighties that his achievements were particularly recognised, when he was awarded Japan Record Awards two years running. In his later years Ishimoto was active in industry organisations such as the Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (or JASRAC) of which he was chairman from 1989 to 1994.
NEW MAXIMO PARK SINGLE
You can watch the video for the track now on YouTube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqYkiZ4a1oQ&fmt=18.
AKON EXPECTS JACKO TO MIME
MORRISSEY CANCELS MORE DATES
A statement on Morrissey's website read: "Regrettably, the rest of Morrissey's UK tour dates at the O2 Academy Brixton have been cancelled. Morrissey is on continued doctor's orders not to sing. Ticket holders are advised to hang on to their tickets and await further information. Event organizers would like to apologise to fans for the disappointment. Additional information will be issued as soon as possible".
NEW YOUTH MUSIC FESTIVAL TO LAUNCH THIS MONTH
Each event will feature performances from urban names such as Bashy, Ms Dynamite, Roachford and Akala, as well as showcasing lesser known rising stars and providing young aspiring artists, many of whom are socially excluded or lacking in employment and education, with professional mentoring, and time with established artists. The project is a part of CREATE09, a wider cultural festival taking place in the aforementioned Olympic host Boroughs from 22 Jun to 2 Aug in partnership with Biggafish, Continental Drifts, Music Matrix, Rising Tide, and Urban Development.
ALBUM REVIEW: Eels - Hombre Lobo (Universal/Polydor)
PEOPLE FILE-SHARE, THEY SHOULDN'T REALLY, BUT THEY DO
Well, I think that's what it says. I'm a bit confused about all this, which I think is because, as is often the case, there are a lot of assumptions going on in this research report, conducted by the University College London's Centre for Information Behaviour & The Evaluation Of Research.
They say that on one particular P2P network at midday on a weekday there were 1.3 million users "sharing content" - I think they mean 1.3 million users were online with the relevant P2P client switched on. Assuming, as the researchers have, that each of those people download one piece of content a day, and assuming all that content is unlicensed, and assuming each bit of content is worth approximately £2.50, then that's your £12 billion of stolen content. Which is a lot of money, but also a lot of assumptions.
Still, content owners will be pleased to hear that these stats have got the minister in charge of tackling the ever present P2P issue talking tough. Though they may be less pleased to hear he has adopted the usual policy of talking up how important it is to tackle this issue, in a bid to cover up the fact he's not actually proposing any ways to do so. And certainly not the way many content owners would like the P2P problem to be tackled. This is not the time to bring up three-strikes again, thank you very much.
Anywhere, here's what IP minister David Lammy has to say: "As SABIP's report shows, illegal downloading robs our economy of millions of pounds every year and seriously damages business and innovation throughout the UK. It is something that needs tackling, and we are serious about doing so. However, it is also an international problem that needs an international solution through countries working together. We can't expect 12-year-olds to become copyright lawyers before they can switch on a computer, but we can educate people on enforcement and work towards getting the right people caught and punished - wherever they live".
Thanks for that David. Then again, a suitably wishy washy response to some pretty wishy washy research I suppose.
PHOENIX BUY ASSETS OF STRUGGLING REGGAE LABEL
Music Week quote Phoenix's International Director John Carnell thus: "Phoenix Music International have bought the assets of Jetstar Music. We are looking forward to working with the artists and writers to make the most of an exciting catalogue of music".
Pheonix have bought a number of music companies in recent years, including last year buying up the assets of former UK indie Gut Records.
SPV IN ADMINISTRATION
NEW FHM EDITOR APPOINTED
UNSIGNED BANDS STATION LAUNCHES ON DIGITAL ONE
TWO RADIO STATIONS CLOSE
First up Southampton-based Radio Hampshire, a local FM station previously owned by Southampton Football Club, but bought by small-time local radio firm Town & Country in 2007. The closure of the station was seemingly very sudden. According to Radio Today, for a time a message on the station's website read: "Without any prior warning to our listeners and to our advertisers Radio Hampshire was forced to switch off on 107.2 & 107.8. Sadly none of the presenters were able to say good bye and thank you to everyone for listening. The station is now been handed over to the administrators". The closure affects local radio in Winchester also because the local station there, Dream 107.2, owned by Tindle Radio, essentially closed last November and had since been syndicated the Southampton station.
Meanwhile, further North, a bid to provide Stoke-On-Trent with an alternative commercial radio service via the area's local digital radio network came to an end on Friday when Focal Radio went off the air. The closure of Focal was less of a surprise, following recent reports that the station had been actively inviting listeners to invest in the flagging company, and that one of its founders, prominent local radio presenter Sam Plank, was paying the rest of the staff's wages out of his own pocket.
SIGNAL APPOINT NEW PROGRAMME CONTROLLER
Meanwhile, in the album chart, Eminem also sticks at the top for a second week. He manages to maintain his dignity (unlike anyone else in the chart) by fending off competition from some former 'Britain's Got Talent' winners, string quartet Escala, who made it to number two with their eponymous debut album.
The charts are compiled, so I'm told, by The Official Charts Company
DIVERSITY WIN BGT
Nevertheless, Boyle is set to make millions. Simon Cowell's Syco label will sign the Scottish warbler any day now, with a debut album expected to sell millions of copies, not least in the US where the news media's appetite for the showtune singing spinster seems as hungry as ever. A biopic is also being touted, which might be a bit OTT, though some sort of book-based biography is sure to be rushed to market.
Meanwhile, Diversity are coming to terms with the shock of winning the show. Great things are being predicted for them too, though obviously their route to global superstardom is less obvious, and not so much within Cowell's area of expertise, though last year's dancing 'BGT' winner George Sampson has had some success. And if I was promoting Michael Jackson's upcoming O2 residency, I'd be on the phone to Cowell this morning. They'd be a great local addition to what is, after all, expected to be a Jacko-lite show.
IDOL RUNNER UP TO COME OUT AS GAY
RIHANNA DROPPED FROM VOGUE BECAUSE OF NUDE SHOTS
The Source says: "Anna told her Vogue absolutely loves her and really wanted to work with her. Rihanna was ecstatic. [But] Anna hasn't returned any of her calls. Rihanna's so upset... She hopes the people at Vogue change their minds".
LEONA LEWIS TOO BUSY FOR OBAMA
A source told the Daily Mirror: "Leona was thrilled to be invited to dinner by Obama. She really wanted to meet him and his wife Michelle, who is a big fan and has her 'Spirit' album. They both think she is a strong, inspirational and talented young woman who is a fantastic role model for children. They would love her to get involved in some of their charity projects. But it was really unfortunate that it clashed with her tight schedule to get her second album done. Leona has had studio sessions in LA booked for months and has been working day and night getting things perfect. So there was no way she could make the trip to the White House".
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