Terra Firma's route to acquire EMI Group has cleared substantially after potential suitor Jim Fifield joined Warner Music Group in pulling out of the race.
Fifield, the former CEO of EMI Group, had declared on May 25 his interest in making a potential cash offer for his former employer.
However, in a statement issued today to the London Stock Exchange, Fifield and his partners Bidco announced his "withdrawal of interest," in light of pressure from U.K. regulatory body the Takeover Panel to enter a firm offer by Thursday afternoon.
"Regrettably, the statement reads, "Jim Fifield and Bidco announce that, as a result of this timetable constraint, Bidco will not be able to make an offer for EMI."
The statement was issued by Fifield, partner Sam Glover and the Bidco management team, which comprises "a number of ex-EMI executives," none of whom have been identified.
Just yesterday, Warner Music late announced it would not make a counter bid for EMI and would withdraw from the process.
Like Warner Music, Bidco has reserved the right to make another offer in the next six months.
Terra Firma, the European private equity firm, had already made clear its intentions with a £2.4 billion ($4.89 billion) offer back in May.
In a subsequent series of emails today, EMI again encouraged its shareholders to promptly accept the earlier Terra Firma offer, while effectively rubbishing Fifield's motivations.
EMI's board members have "serious doubts" over Fifield's interest and questioned the "credibility" of any possible offer, according to EMI.
Fifield did not participate in the due diligence process, and has at no stage made a proposal regarding an offer for EMI, the music major claims. Moreover, Fifield has not made contact with EMI since his first announcement of interest, says EMI.
EMI again "recommended unanimously" its shareholders accept the offer before the closing date of 1pm ET on July 19.
Stock in EMI was down 2% in afternoon trading at 261.75 pence.