Private equity firm KKR and Warner Music Group are in talks to launch a break-up bid for Warner's indebted British rival EMI, reported the Sunday Times.

The paper said KKR is interested in acquiring the music publishing arm of EMI, which it says bankers value at around £1.2 billion ($1.8 billion), while Warner Music wants EMI's recorded music division, which it says is more difficult to value.

EMI is owned by private equity group Terra Firma Capital Partners but could be taken over by its lender Citigroup if it does not find £120 million ($181 million) by June 14 to cure a covenant breach said the paper.

The report said KKR and Warner would be unlikely to make a move for EMI until the stand-off between the company and its lender had been resolved.

KKR, Warner Music and EMI were not immediately available for comment when contacted by Reuters.