EMI faces 2,000 job cuts

Tue Jan 15, 2008 9:21am EST
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By Kate Holton

LONDON (Reuters) - Guy Hands, the private equity owner of EMI, plans to cut up to 2,000 jobs at the ailing British music company, in a plan to rebuild the group which has sparked fury from some of its biggest acts.

Hands, previously best known for investment in waste management and pubs, on Tuesday unveiled his plan to make the home to The Beatles more artist-driven after it was hit by online piracy, falling CD sales and a poor release schedule.

In the list of Britain's biggest-selling albums in 2007, EMI's highest entry was Lily Allen's Alright, Still at 26.

The worldwide cuts will come at EMI's troubled recorded music division, which has some 4,500 staff of a group total of around 5,500. The shakeup, in which between 1,500 and 2,000 jobs will go, is designed to boost its roster of talent and increase Internet sales while reducing costs by 200 million pounds ($393 million) a year.

In a bid to allow EMI's labels such as Capitol and Parlophone to focus on finding new artists and promoting digital music, the company plans to bring its marketing, sales and distribution under a single division over the next six months.

But the plans have angered top-selling artists such as Robbie Williams, who questioned whether EMI would be able to devote enough time and money to promote his work.

"We have spent a long time looking intensely at EMI and the problems faced by its recorded music division which, like the rest of the music industry, has been struggling to respond to the challenges posed by a digital environment," Terra Firma boss Hands said.

"The changes we are announcing today will ensure that this iconic company will be creating wonderful music in a way that is profitable and sustainable."   Continued...

<p>Chief Executive Officer of Terra Firma, Guy Hands (C), arrives for a meeting in London, January 15, 2008. British music company EMI, which is owned by Terra Firma, is to axe up to 2,000 jobs in a restructuring plan by its new private-equity owners to save up to $392 million a year and recast itself for the digital age. REUTERS/Kieran Doherty</p>