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Think of a number...

EMI executives must be getting their calculators out after the recording giant sealed an £80m deal with pop superstar Robbie Williams - the biggest contract of its kind in UK music history.

But when the deal was announced on Wednesday last week, the company’s share price fell by 1%, largely because of concerns relating to EMI’s ill-fated £70m contract with Mariah Carey, which flopped spectacularly.

For a FTSE-100 company with a market capitalisation approaching £1.4bn, the deal with Robbie has initially wiped £14m off the value of the music group, which means investors are less certain of its success or huge investment of capital in the former double-glazing salesman from Stoke-on-Trent.

But in the world of music, the risk taken by EMI is small when you compare it to the £142m paid by Polydor to sign U2. Then again, both pale into insignificance compared to the whopping £600m plus Sony is rumoured to have paid to sign face-changing wonder Michael Jackson back in 1991!

Still Robbie is up there with the best of British when it comes to music deals, and if his next album outsells his previous releases, which have topped 20 million already, EMI and its investors really could be ‘singing when they’re winning’ after all!

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