HITS Daily Double
"Clive has vowed to put Humpty Dumpty back together again, metaphorically speaking."
——a source


Retired Zomba Founder Now Said to Be Eager to Take on the Challenge of Restoring the Troubled Company to Its Former Glory
Clive Calder is in talks with Warner Music executives and will make a bid for the company, HITS has learned. The retired founder of Zomba Music Group, who is one of the world’s richest individuals, will tender a $7.35-per-share offer for WMG, according to inside sources. Scott Sperling and the rest of the WMG board are said to be eager to accept the deal, over the desperate protestations of Edgar Bronfman Jr. and Lyor Cohen, who are smart enough to figure out they’ll be history when and if Calder takes the reins.

Calder, who walked away from the business just before the bottom dropped out with a cool $3 billion from Bertelsmann’s coffers, has become increasingly bored and restless as he lounges on the beach of his Cayman Islands estate reading John Grisham novels, the source reveals, and is itching for a new challenge. “Clive wants to take on a task that everyone in the business believes is impossible, and that is to put back together what those two idiots have systematically destroyed,” the source explained.

In the 2002 deal, Bertie snapped up the 80% of Zomba’s record division, with its cornerstone label Jive Records, and the 75% of its music publishing division it did not already own, making the already wealthy Calder filthy rich. His timing couldn't have been better: Soon afterward, the music business began a slump that is now in its sixth year, with no relief in sight.

The business relationship between Zomba and Bertelsmann dates back to the early ’80s, when Calder launched the Jive label as the BMG-distribbed home for such early hit artists as Billy Ocean, A Flock of Seagulls and DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince. BMG acquired a 25% stake in Zomba’s music-publishing division in 1991 and 20% of its record division in 1996, at which time it negotiated for the put option it exercised six years later.

"With its outstanding executives and creative talent, Zomba should add a lot of value to Bertelsmann’s BMG music division," Calder said at the time. "This is a natural culmination of many years of close business ties and a complex series of agreements negotiated 12 years ago."

Added then-Bertelsmann Chairman/CEO Thomas Middelhoff: "Over the years, I have admired Zomba’s impressive results, which are perhaps the most spectacular in the industry. We are very excited about its future prospects, and it will definitely strengthen our music business."

Middelhoff now works as Calder’s chauffeur.