If Osama bin Laden were to sue Citibank for giving him false advice in a takeover deal, he’d stand a decent chance in a New York court, given the general low repute of City bankers.
No such luck for Guy Hands, the man who owns the hedge fund that owns EMI. His $7 bn court claim that he was swindled into paying over the odds for the company was thrown out in four hours by a jury, unmoved by wails that Hands had lost 70 percent of his personal fortune when EMI’s share price fell by half.
Where that leaves EMI is firmly in the knackers yard. If the company cannot meet its next debt repayment, Citibank will call in the loan and put the comany into administration.
Vultures are circling. If Warner pass yet again on the chance to pick up the oldest and deepest music catalogue on the cheap, sources at Sony and Universal say the two giants will carve up EMI between them. Neither can buy the company without facing anti-trust action. But if they cherry-pick the remains, Citibank will get repaid and the label will fade into history.
As for Terry Hands, he’s running low on friends and the high-wire case will have cost him another chunk of an already depleted fortune. So sad.