As he struggles to try and stop Citi taking EMI from Terra Firma, a document emerges showing that Guy Hands proposed breaking up EMI late last year.
His vision? Split off the bit that makes money (publishing) from the bit that sucks out the cash (records).
Though Citigroup rejected the proposal, Mr. Hands wrote that "we believe that we are in agreement in relation to a number of the key components of an acceptable solution including the need to separate the two businesses."
Mr. Hands's proposal focused on fixing the financial structure of the two divisions, and didn't discuss operational strategies.
"So one of your kidneys is totally broken, our plan is to rip out the good kidney and give that to someone else. That way, at least your good kidney has a chance."
Still, all this interest in the future of the business must make interested parties delighted? Citi and Terra Firma suggesting strategies? Two heads are better than one, right?
Eh, Wall Street Journal?
A filling last week from Terra Firma shows the harm the tug-of-war over the business and the bad publicity surrounding the deal is causing. In an email to Mr. Hands in early October, EMI Music CEO Elio Leoni-Sceti wrote that in the first nine months of 2009, counterparties' concerns about EMI's stability caused the company to lose distribution deals that would have gen rated income of $13 million a year. "Not only are artists and artists' managers raising concerns but morale within the company has reached a low point," he wrote.
The guys at the Brits tonight in a sealed plastic tent? That'll be the EMI table.