Ketupa.net provides several comprehensive profiles of media groups. I highlight some EMI facts:
After the 1939-45 war impresario Walter Legge dominated EMI Records, founding the Philharmonia Orchestra. During the 1960s EMI recorded the Beatles, licensed several labels in the US (including the MGM label) and established the Music For Pleasure and World Record Club mail-order operations.
During the 1970s it acquired the Associated British Picture Corporation (ABPC) and a chain of provincial cinemas, making films such as The Deerhunter and Murder on the Orient Express before leaving Hollywood after significant losses.
In 1979 it merged with electronics manufacturer and leasing group Thorn to form Thorn EMI. Units were bought and sold with little sense of a coherent corporate strategy, as the chronology suggests.
In 1992 Thorn EMI bought the Virgin Music Group from Richard Branson and Japanese conglomerate Fujisankei for £560m. One executive is supposed to have quipped that
“We are all very, very sad. But some of us are also very, very rich.”
In 1994 it bought David Balfa’s Food music group for £475,000. A year later it swallowed the Hatchards bookshops and Dillons bookselling chain (the second largest UK book retailer) for upwards of £56 million.
In 1996 the ailing electronics business was demerged into a separate company, Thorn, and the music recording and retailing arms were renamed EMI Group. In 1998 EMI sold its 271-strong HMV retail business, along with the Dillons bookstore chain, to HMV Media for £500m. EMI took a 42.5% stake in HMV and around £382m in cash.