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Simon Fuller Eyes Bid For McCartney Label

(c) Sky News 2012

The music impresario Simon Fuller is plotting to seize control of an American record label that numbers Sir Paul McCartney and Joni Mitchell among its leading artists.

I have learned that Mr Fuller is among a pack of bidders circling Concord Music Group, which is owned by the US-based media conglomerate Village Roadshow.

As well as Sir Paul and Ms Mitchell, Concord owns a catalogue of music featuring stars including Miles Davis and Dionne Warwick.

Concord, which is expected to command a price-tag of approximately $125m, has been put up for sale eight years after it was formed from the merger of Concord Records and Fantasy Records. In 2008, Concord and Village Roadshow Pictures Group, the film-maker, created a joint venture which was designed to exploit commercial opportunities across film, radio and other media properties.

Mr Fuller's interest in acquiring Concord comes as he also pursues an offer for the larger record label Parlophone, which is part of EMI and is being offloaded by the British company's new parent, Universal Music Group (UMG).

Parlophone, one of the most venerable names in the international music business, is home to artists such as Coldplay and Kylie Minogue.

Mr Fuller, who orchestrated the creation of the Pop Idol television franchise, is determined to build a new world-class music business. Now the head of XIX Entertainment, he manages athletes and celebrities including David Beckham and Andy Murray.

Sky News revealed last month that Mr Fuller was in talks with a group of investors about financing his bid for Parlophone, including the City grandee Lord Rothschild, a South Korean media group and several private equity firms. These investors would also be likely to help fund Mr Fuller's Concord offer.

Parlophone and a number of other EMI labels including Sanctuary have been put up for sale under orders from European Commission officials concerned about the impact on competition in the industry from the UMG-EMI tie-up.

Bidders for Parlophone have been told by bankers acting for UMG that Concord would make a strong strategic fit with the EMI-owned asset.

As well as Mr Fuller's consortium, a number of other music industry players have signalled their interest in acquiring both Concord and Parlophone, according to insiders.

A spokesman for Mr Fuller declined to comment.