|Citigroup's 399 Park Avenue and EMI's 150 Fifth Avenue, via PropertyShark|
As the month turned over, Citigroup wasted no time in taking control of EMI. The move came as a surprise to former owner Terra Firma, which was expecting to default on its debt before ceding control to the bank. During the takeover, Citi wrote off $3.5 billion of EMI's debt, leaving it with $1.9 billion, but the improved balance sheet is unlikely to change the label's next step: being sold to the highest bidder. NPR compares the label to a house burdened by a subprime mortgage.
As far as potential buyers, Warner has been seen as the frontrunner, even as it considers selling its publishing division, which could, in turn, finance a bid for EMI's back catalog, the most lucrative part of the label. Another contender is BMG Rights Management, a partnership of Bertelsmann and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P. (KKR), which has considered buying before.
Either way, the future of the EMI looks precarious.