- Apple, the iconoclastic computer maker, has discussed an investment in Universal Music, the world’s largest recording company, people close to the discussions said yesterday. These people, however, also cautioned that a deal was unlikely to be concluded.
….The talks between Apple and Vivendi covered the concept of buying as much as a third of the music unit, according to people close to the discussions. But the talks appear to have been just exploratory discussions that did not go far.
“Vivendi has a very strong interest in generating as much perceived interest in all of these assets as they can,” one investment banker said.
The notion of having Apple buy all of Universal Music was also discussed, but the likelihood of Apple’s making that offer seemed remote to the people close to the discussions yesterday.
….Several people close to the discussions said it seemed unlikely that a deal would ultimately happen. One executive who talked recently with Steven P. Jobs, Apple’s chief executive, about the music business said: “It makes no sense. He didn’t seem like a buyer of music.”
Indeed, the new plan for an online store seems to eliminate Apple’s need to have any interest in the music business because it would have access to the music. “Why buy the cow when you already have the milk?” one executive close to Apple’s planning said.
Any close relationship with the Universal Music Group would also be problematic for Mr. Jobs because the other labels would surely balk at doing business with Apple if it controlled their largest competitor.
Maybe this downplaying report is a smokescreen for continued negotiations – or maybe the deal just doesn’t make sense.