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Friday, 10 November, 2000, 13:29 GMT
Bertelsmann approaches EMI
EMI headquarters in London
EMI: "No detailed discussions or transaction assured"
Shares in EMI Group shot up more than 10% on Friday morning after the UK music publisher confirmed it had received an approach from German rival Bertelsmann.

In a statement, EMI said the approach concerned "a possible combination" of Bertelsmann Music Group with EMI.

"The transaction proposed by Bertelsmann does not involve an offer being made for EMI," it said.

EMI shares had previously climbed 6% on Thursday after the placing of 8.5 million shares in the company at 523 pence each.

One minute after issuing its statement, EMI shares surged to 600p, up from Thursday's close of 544p.

However, by 1327 GMT, they had settled back at 550p.

Few possible targets

EMI said no detailed discussions had yet taken place with Bertelsmann nor could there be any assurance that a transaction would result.

The statement came after several days of media speculation about a possible tie-up between the two companies.

Analysts say Bertelsmann has, for long, eyed a major position among music labels and has few possible acquisition targets.

EMI and Warner Music last month scrapped their plans for a 14bn merger after regulators looked set to demand a host of heavy concessions as a price for approving it.

The Financial Times newspaper reported on Thursday that Bertelsmann had already sounded out European Commission anti-trust officials about the implications of any deal it might do with EMI.

The German firm last week struck an alliance with music sharing website Napster in a surprise move reported to have been orchestrated by Bertelsmann chairman Thomas Middelhoff.

Bertelsmann Music Group president and chief executive Strauss Zelnick and chairman Michael Dornemann both resigned in the wake of the deal.

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