Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 18, 2012 11:20 AM
The record company that made Sir Richard Branson the man that he is today may be back on the block soon and the billionaire who parlayed Virgin Records into a global house of brands is saying that he wouldn’t mind putting the business he sold back into his own back pocket.
Universal Music Group is attempting to purchase EMI but it may be forced to ditch Virgin the process by regulators, according to the Guardian (UMG is reportedly ready to offer concessions to get the deal done). Branson, meanwhile, has spoken with French entrepreneur Patrick Zelnik, a former Virgin exec, about buying Virgin together. Branson let it be known that he is ready to join the bid for Virgin Records if it is sold by Universal Music Group as a condition of the major label's £1.2 billion acquisition of EMI Music.
”Richard Branson and Virgin have been assessing how to get back into recorded music business for many years," said a spokesman for Virgin Group, according to the Guardian. "The potential disposal of Virgin Records by Universal Music offers a wonderful opportunity to recreate a dynamic independent label in the market."
Branson started Virgin back in 1970 as a mail-order business targeting university students. Zelnik launched the brand in France in 1980 and owns another label called Naive.
"Any potential deal is subject to many things," Zelnik told the Guardian. "First, is a merger going to go through, it might be blocked by the [European] commission? If it is not blocked I can confirm that one remedy is the disposal [by Universal] of some assets. Among them Virgin Records is on the list."