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Group preparing bid for Time Warner Music
( 2003-11-18 17:09) (Reuters)

An investor group that includes media moguls Haim Saban and Edgar Bronfman Jr. is preparing a $2.5 billion bid for Time Warner Inc.'s music business, according to a source familiar with the situation.

Sources have said that Time Warner would choose between a bid from the investor group and one from music industry rival EMI Group Plc by a Thursday board meeting.

EMI is only bidding for Time Warner's recorded music business, sources have said, while the offer which the source familiar with the situation late on Monday said that the Saban, Bronfman group was putting together involves the music publishing unit as well.

An offer from EMI likely would face close scrutiny by regulators in the U.S. and in Europe, while it is believed that a bid from the investor group would probably result in a smoother ride through the regulatory process.

The news comes after Sony Music and Bertelsmann AG's BMG said earlier this month that they would merge in what may have triggered broader consolidation in the industry.

In another deal, Universal Music, the world's largest record label, said it would buy Dreamworks Records for an estimated $100 million.

Sales of recorded music have fallen sharply in the last couple of years as a result of online file-sharing services and entertainment alternatives such as video games and DVDs.

EMI was offering $1 billion for a majority stake in Warner's recorded music unit that would exclude the publishing arm Warner Chappell, sources have said.

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