Industry sources tell me that Sean Parker is working furiously behind the scenes with Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Companies to put together a winning bid for EMI. According to insiders, Parker really wants this to happen. The main competition seems to be Junior Bronfman, who’s new duties at Warner Music seem to consist solely of trying to outbid everyone else for EMI.
Since Junior has been shown the door, the new CEO Stephen Cooper has been wisely keeping his head down and staying under the radar. Maybe he realizes that the music industry doesn’t take kindly to outsiders and by staying down in his foxhole Lyor is more than willing to keep popping his head up and drawing fire. I mean really…there’s just nothing like a record executive’s ego. By keeping a low profile, Cooper can just do what he has to do and let Lyor take the media heat.
It would be very surprising for Junior to pull off the EMI deal even if he did place the winning bid. I still believe that a Warner/EMI merger would never get through EU regulators. Certainly EMI CEO Roger Faxon would prefer having a buyer who is not in the music industry, but would he really want Sean Parker as his boss?
There’s no doubt that if he won the deal, Parker would not be a passive investor. Far from it. As he displayed last week, he’s taken a very active role with Spotify. There’s no doubt that Spotify will be the biggest winner of all the competing services on the new Facebook platform, having acquired nearly a million new users in less than the week since the Facebook integration. He lives large and likes to put his fingerprints on everything he’s involved with, but as one Parker associate told me, “Sean’s just got too much money”. Others say that it would take a real stretch of the imagination for Faxon to live with answering to Sean Parker, who is at least 30 years his junior. Sounds like Sean and Roger could be on a quick collision course.
Unless, of course, Burkle, the older wiser wing man for Bill Clinton, can keep Sean under control. We do know that Parker would at the very least revive an old music industry tradition. He likes to throw a lot of big expensive parties. Woohoo!
© 2011, Wayne Rosso. All rights reserved.