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Album cover photo for 'Abbey Road'

Abbey Road, the iconic London recording studios, has been put on the market by EMI, according to the Financial Times.

EMI declined to comment to Billboard on the prospective sale of the studios, immortalized by the 1969 Beatles album of the same name. But the FT today (Feb. 16) reported that five people familiar with the situation said the major had been courting bidders for the studios at 3 Abbey Road in north London.

The FT said the sale could raise tens of millions. That might very slightly ease EMI's debt burden but it seems unlikely that funds would be available by June 2010, to assist in Terra Firma's covenant tests with Citigroup this year when the private equity owner expects to inject up to £120 million ($188 million).

The Abbey Road brand name would be a key part of any sale, if EMI wants to raise serious money. EMI and Abbey Road is about to launch a branded product range, beginning with clothing, bags and stationery. Abbey Road Live was launched last year that provides live recordings at concerts.

EMI bought the property in 1929 and converted it into recording studios. Sir Edward Elgar recorded "Land of Hope and Glory" with the London Symphony Orchestra in studio one in 1931, and the Beatles later recorded the majority of their songs there.

Pink Floyd recorded "Dark Side Of The Moon" at Abbey Road and, although it is too expensive for many artists today, the studio is able to accommodate orchestras. It has been used for scores to Hollywood films such as the "Lord Of The Rings" and "Harry Potter" franchises.

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