London-based Chrysalis Group confirmed today (Nov. 1) that is in discussions for merger opportunities.

Chrysalis had interest from various publishers in late 2007 and early 2008 including Bug Music. But EMI was the only company to make a formal bid at that time: the offer - which valued the company at around £133 million ($213 million) - was rejected as too low.

The developing global financial crisis meant the lengthy auction process was called off in April 2008.

The company has a 100,000-strong catalog in its publishing division, and its roster includes Cee Lo Green, Sheryl Crow, Gossip, Velvet Revolver, Blondie and Rumer as well as interests in songs recorded by Michael Jackson and David Bowie. Its recorded music arm has worked with artists including Ray Lamontagne, Bat For Lashes and Feeder, and represents master rights for artists including Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck.

Today (Nov. 1) the board of directors confirmed speculation that it is in "early stage discussions with a number of parties regarding merger opportunities."

The statement added that "discussions are at a very preliminary stage and there can be no certainty that an offer will be made for Chrysalis or as to the terms on which any offer would be made."

There had been reports at the weekend that the group's founder Chris Wright was looking to secure a deal to help grow the business and address shareholder concerns over its share price.

Chrysalis did not confirm who is interested in the company, but likely candidates from the independent sector include Bug Music again as well as BMG Rights Management and Imagem Music.

Wright co-founded Chrysalis in 1968 and the Chrysalis record label was sold to EMI in the '90s.

Wright owns a 29% stake in the group; institutional investors include Schroders, North Atlantic Value and Guinness Peat.

Shares in Chryalis rose 24% in morning trade to 136 pence ($2.18). The market capitalization for Chrysalis is around £74 million ($119 million). In 2008, Chrysalis was thought to be hoping for offers in excess of 200 pence ($3.21) a share.