HITS Daily Double
Tech giant said to be "kicking UMG's tires."


Report Says That While Tech Giants are Interested in Buying UMG, Talks are Preliminary and May Fall Flat
Just one day after word spread of Steve Jobs’ interest in purchasing Universal Music Group, comes a report that Microsoft has also expressed interest in buying Vivendi Universal's music arm.

According to the New York Post, Microsoft's interest is said to be at the level of "poking around, kicking the tires." However, insiders say that the computer technology company has indeed had conversations with Vivendi executives about buying the music division.

But, as soon as specualtion about the possible sale of UMG surfaced, so did reports of said deals falling through. The Wall Street Journal Monday said, "in a bid to control their own destiny at a time when there are few buyers for music companies, executives at UMG have
recently tried to peddle their unit themselves—though attempts to interest Apple Computer Inc. and others in making bids have fallen flat."

The paper added that Universal Music executives, including Chairman Doug Morris and
Interscope Geffen A&M label chief Jimmy Iovine, have been putting out feelers for possible buyers or investors but now appear to be taking a wait-and-see approach, say people familiar with the matter. Talks in recent weeks aimed at persuading Jobs
to bid for all or part of the giant music company haven't borne fruit and seem unlikely to proceed for now.

The music world was abuzz Friday after the Los Angeles Times first reported that Apple, and its CEO Jobs, were in talks with Vivendi Universal to purchase UMG, the world’s largest music group, for between $5-6 billion

The prospect of a tech giants like Apple or Microsoft delving into the music business is an affirmation to those in the music industry that it is possible to make digital downloading profitable, and has been met with open arms during this dire time.

According to published reports, Jobs began meeting with Vivendi officials last October about possibly investing in UMG.

Apple has held talks with firms Thomas H. Lee Partners, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and Blackstone Group about making a strategic investment in the computer maker to help finance its deal, according to the Post report. But, even with help from the buyout firms, sources say it will still be tough for Apple to buy the entire unit.

According to the Post, Apple's interest is said to be stronger than Microsoft's—but Microsoft might intensify its interest as an April 29 Vivendi board meeting approaches. At that meeting, Vivendi is expected to weigh a variety of proposals for selling its U.S. entertainment assets, which include a movie studio, theme parks and television properties.