City giants enter the fray in battle for control of EMI

Top City firms are squaring up in the battle for music publishing group EMI.

Three private equity groups have confirmed their interest in the world’s third-largest music publisher, which is a client of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

US-headquartered private equity houses Cerberus, One Equity and Fortress are set to engage in a £3bn takeover battle for EMI over the next fortnight, and each has instructed English firms to advise them on their approaches, The Lawyer understands.

Cerberus has a good relationship with Freshfields, but, as it is also EMI’s adviser, the private equity house has turned to Ashurst, which it also has links with.

Meanwhile, One Equity has instructed Linklaters. The firm has a good relationship with JPMorgan, which is One Equity’s parent company.

It is not yet clear which firm is advising Fortress, although Allen & Overy has ties with it.

For EMI, Freshfields corporate partner Mark Rawlinson and competition partner Rachel Brandenburger manage the longstanding relationship, but the firm declined to comment. The company has acknowledged that it is the subject of “preliminary indications of interest”.

The private equity houses must make an official offer by 23 May, when the company’s annual results are published.