Executive may play into WMG plans.

Martin Bandier is resigning his post as chairman/co-CEO of EMI Music Publishing, Billboard.biz has learned. The move follows discussions between Warner Music Group chairman Edgar Bronfman Jr. and Bandier over WMG's future plans. After the resignation, expected within weeks, a WMG-Bandier alliance may be among Bandier's options.

According to multiple publishing industry sources, Bandier will be readying a play to acquire EMI Music Publishing -- the company he has built over the last 18 years -- with private equity backing or, alternatively, to helm WMG publishing assets, among his other publishing opportunities.

Moves by WMG and EMI Group to acquire each other heated up earlier this year, but the European court's July 13 annulment of the Sony BMG Music merger approval cooled speculation that any acquisition would occur. But the court decision did not dissuade Vivendi's Universal Music Group from purchasing BMG Music Publishing earlier this month. Competition regulators worldwide must also approve that acquisition before it can be completed.

Regardless of these pending reviews, Bronfman is reportedly still interested in acquiring EMI Group assets.

Bandier's resignation comes 6 months before co-CEO Roger Faxon is set to become sole CEO of the publisher and 18 months before Bandier's already-planned resignation from his chairman post. The Bandier-Faxon multi-stage change began in January 2005 after Bandier reportedly informed EMI Group chairman Eric Nicoli that he wished to transition out of the company.

Bandier was unavailable for comment. WMG declined comment.