EMI Group’s shareprice surged 10% higher today (Nov. 23) on renewed speculation of a merger with Warner Music.
The British music major’s stock rose 22p to reach 242p at the close of trading on the London Stock Exchange, giving the company a market capitalization of roughly £1.91 billion ($3.2 billion).
More than 44 million EMI shares changed hands, against a typical daily volume of more than 9 million.
One London-based analyst said the speculation centered on an alleged 300p-per-share takeover bid from Warner Music.
As recently as last week, EMI executives have poured cold water on the ongoing merger rumblings. “We’ve nothing to say about Warner Music at all,” EMI Group chairman Eric Nicoli told reporters in a Nov. 16 conference call. “There’s lots of speculation and it’s ever-present. We’ve never seen merit in fueling it,” he added.
Representatives from EMI and Warner Music today declined to comment.
The two companies attempted to amalgamate in 1999, but scrapped their plans when it became apparent that it would not bear up to scrutiny from the European Commission’s competition department. Another attempt was launched in 2003, but also came to nothing.
Earlier this year, EMI appointed former Warner Music chairman/CEO Roger Ames as a senior advisor, in what some industry observers saw as a preparatory move for another merger effort.