EMI: Terra Firma Sharpening Axe

Terra Firma boss Guy Hands should formally take control of EMI this week and has promised to explain his restructuring plans in October. But there’s no secret about his overall plan: Fire people.

Last week, Variety reports, Hands told the Royal Television Society that he didn’t intend to sell off either the company’s record music or music publishing business, as many have speculated. But he did promise to wield a sharp blade:

“We look for the worst business we can find in the most challenged sector, and we get really happy if it’s really, really bad,” Hands said. He added, “We’re just hoping EMI is as bad as we think it is.”

Like every other major music label, EMI has undergone a series of cost cuts during the industry’s 7+ year slump. Can a disciplined owner find more fat? No doubt. Whether that’s enough to save a business in a free-falling industry is another matter. Variety.