Richard Branson, who will be celebrating his 62nd birthday today, appears to be in talks with EMI to buy Virgin Records, a record label he founded in the 1970s. After signing, amongst others, the Sex Pistols at the height of their fame, Virgin Records netted Branson his first billion pound sale when he sold the label to EMI in the 1990s.
Branson in conjunction with Patrick Zelnik, a former business partner, may provide a source of appeasement to the EU Competition Commission as Universal attempt to gain approval for their takeover of EMI. The deal has run into a lot of trouble after the commission published a 200 page document outlining their objections, especially with regard to the control and influence Universal would have over the growing, immature digital music market. By off-loading Virgin Records, Universal may have more luck in persuading the commission they are not hell-bent on taking over the music industry.
They would also give Branson a nice birthday present and get themselves on his Christmas card list. We don’t know about you but considering Branson will soon be offering to take his pals out for a spin in space, his Christmas card list is a place we’d love to be.