Hands beats deadline for EMI

Terra Firma Capital Partners, Guy Hands’ buyout firm, has received the necessary shareholder acceptances to take UK music group EMI private following concern that the group would struggle to secure financing for the takeover bid.

After a series of revised deadlines, Terra Firma set a target of 1pm on August 1 for its 265p per share offer to reach at least 90% of shareholder acceptances in order to complete the deal and delist the recorded music and publishing group.

At the beginning of the week, the £2.4bn offer had received approximately 84.96% acceptances, prompting the Takeover Panel to give its consent to changing the deadline from August 29.

As of 12.15pm on August 1, Terra Firma investment vehicle Maltby Ltd had received acceptances of the offer in respect of a total of 732,158,295 EMI shares, representing 90.27% of the existing ordinary share capital of EMI.

Following speculation that Kohlberg Kravis Roberts’ takeover of Alliance Boots and problems in the US sub-prime debt markets had combined effectively to shut down future leveraged buyout debt provision, there were concerns that US bank Citi could drop out of the financing for the EMI deal.

However, despite the offer exceeding the 90% acceptance level required to give comfort to Citi, the US bank is reported to have already waived the conditions.

Warner Music Group had previously been Terra Firma’s biggest rival to win EMI and could still make an offer for the group’s recorded music division once the takeover is completed, leaving Terra Firma with an option to securitise the publishing arm.