BEATLES (STUDIOS) FOR SALE?

The Beatles' favourite recording venue could be sold to make money for EMI...

The world famous ABBEY ROAD STUDIOS, where Beatles recorded so many of their classic albums, may be put up for sale by owners EMI to cover increasing debts.

The ailing label, which has already issued two profit warnings this year, blaming a multi-million golden kiss-off payment to Mariah Carey, as well as bad sales, is also said to be considering selling its share in HMV music stores to balance its heavily indebted books. The company’s debt pile has now risen to a staggering £1.1billion.

The Financial Times claims that EMI’s 42.7 per cent stake in HMV Media, which owns about 500 stores worldwide, could be among a number of assets earmarked for disposal as part of a debt-reduction plan. The Abbey Road sale would be part of a possible sell-off of EMI’s £285million property holdings.

However, The FT insisted that no decision on any sale had been made.

Last week, EMI Group announced it would merge all of its labels under the Capitol and Virgin banners in a bid to streamline its label roster and save money.

Mariah Carey was dumped last month, one album into her five-album deal, with a £19million pay-off. She had signed to EMI subsidiary Virgin in April 2001 for an estimated £70million, one of the most lucrative deals in the recording industry’s history.

Alain Levy, Head Of Recorded Music at EMI – the man sent in to pick up the pieces of the Mariah Carey affair – is preparing to unveil a recovery plan to the City next month, believed to be focused on reducing EMI’s debt.