October 17, 2011 / 2:08 AM / in 7 years

Citi may abandon EMI sale if unable to get higher offers: FT

LONDON (Reuters) - Citigroup (C.N) may abandon its attempt to sell EMI if the U.S. bank cannot squeeze higher offers from bidders, the Financial Times reported on Monday.

The newspaper cited three people close to the auction for the British music company as saying the second-round bids had come in at the low end of an expected $3 billion to $4 billion range, and that tight credit markets made higher offers hard to finance.

Offers for the recorded-music side of EMI have come in between $1 billion and $1.3 billion, while its publishing arm has drawn bids between $1.7 billion and $2.5 billion, according to the article.

The bidding process remains fluid, however, with Citigroup expected to decide within two weeks whether to sell EMI in one piece, break the company in two, or put the sale on hold, the FT reported, citing sources familiar with the auction.

The British music company is reviewing competing offers for EMI Publishing from BMG Music, a joint venture between Bertelsmann and private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR.N), and Sony/ATV - a joint venture between Sony Corp (6758.T) and the estate of Michael Jackson.

Vivendi SA’s (VIV.PA) Universal Music Group and Len Blavatnik’s Warner Music Group are vying for the recorded-music side of EMI.

EMI was not immediately available for comment. All bidders have declined to comment throughout the sale process.

Reporting by Stephen Mangan; Editing by Vinu Pilakkott

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