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EMI in licensing talks to raise funds

EMI Group Ltd has held preliminary talks to license its music in North America to rival record labels, a move that comes as private-equity owners seek to avoid debt default that could soon put the troubled music company in the hands of lender Citigroup Inc., people close to the matter said.

EMI, which was purchased by private-equity group Terra Firma Capital Partners Ltd in 2007, has been shopping a five-year licensing deal of its catalogue to rival music companies, including Warner Music Group Corp., Vivendi SA’s Universal Music Group and Sony Corp.’s Sony Music, these people said.

Under such an agreement, sales and distribution of music by artists such as the Beatles and Pink Floyd would be handled by a rival music company. A deal could bring in up to GBP100 million (USD150.1 million) per year for EMI, one person close to the matter said on Sunday.

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(Source: The Wall Street Journal Online)