Uni On The Block? Uni-Ver Know
So here is the part where I riff a bit and just have some fun. This piece is definitely NOT journalism.
Universal has been dominating the trades so much that you could do an entire newsletter devoted to their activities: merging with GE, cutting CD prices to $10, discontinuing POPs, dumping the music division, dumping Emusic.com, paying off $61 million in damages for blocking Ja Rule's release, and on top of everything, being sued by former Temptation member, Barrington Henderson, for back royalties and defamation because they accused him of being a "bad singer."
Yes, it's been a rough quarter for our beloved 300-pound gorilla. So, it's no surprise that this month's announced cut back of over 1000 jobs designed to trim their bottom line of tens-of-millions in overhead, all spells real trouble for the "World's Largest Record Company." But their biggest problem: they are for sale and nobody wants to buy.
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With GE in formal talks to buy a majority share in Universal Entertainment from Vivendi, many thought that their previous statements about wanting to carve out the music division from the acquisition was posturing. But, it seems now they really don't want it.
My guess is Jimmy Iovine (president of Interscope-- the crown jewel of the UNI empire) is frantically looking for buyers or strategic partners to take the music division solo. Hoping to show GE that he can fire people en mass with the same vigor as he can choose his baseball caps, he made some tough decisions in the past month. But there are still no takers.
To bolster the worth of the record division he purchased DreamWorks Records this week. That's David Geffen's contribution to the deadly trio that makes up the DreamWorks dream-team of executives (Spielberg, Katzenberg and Geffen).
Whether this move means taking on more debt or more profit for UNI remains to be seen. Regardless, I think UNI (a company that reported net earnings of only $83 Million last year) will be going for fire-sale prices by the beginning of next year. So, I'm starting a fund. I figure that if every one pitches in $100, with million or so people in the music business we could assemble a fund and buy the label for $100,000,000 and allow Jimmy to keep his well-deserved seven-figure salary. Let's help save Jimmy's job and turn the "World's Largest Record Company" into the first "People's Record Label."
Send a Czech to:
"Save Jimmy's Job" (a 501c3 corp in California)
1000 Nevergonnahappen Rd.
LA CA 90022
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