The news thickens the plot around the sale of Parlophone, which is said to have a dozen potential bidders. The long-running British label includes Coldplay, Gorillaz, Blur, Kylie Minogue and other artists, although Universal kept the label's most famous artists, the Beatles. Parlophone is easily the most coveted of the assets Universal is offloading, which include Sanctuary, Coop and others. Mute Records' back catalog was sold to BMG late last month.
Other interested bidders are said to include Warner Music - which recently hired former Sony exec Rob Wiesenthal as COO -- Ronald Perelman's MacAndrews & Forbes; and Simon Fuller and Chris Blackwell, with backing from RIT Capital Partners.
Neither label had responded to Billboard.biz's requests for comment at press time. A rep for BMG told Financial Times: "We have already demonstrated with our bids for publishing copyrights from Sony and the Mute Records catalogue from Universal that BMG is an active player in the reshaping of the music industry. To that end we will do what is necessary to make any bids as competitive as possible."
Bids for Parlophone and the other labels are expected to be in by mid-month.