City analysts believe Thorn EMI set to divide itself in two


MUSIC to rentals giant Thorn EMI is set to announce plans to split itself in two, City analysts believe.

The £8 billion sterling group is likely to be divided into the Thorn rentals side, which includes Radio Rentals, and the highly profitable EMI music division.

Such a move would make EMI the world's biggest independent music group with a string of topselling artists including Oasis, Blur, the Rolling Stones and Ms Janet Jackson.

Details of the demerger plans are likely to be announced at the group's third quarter results tomorrow.

Last year the group announced its intention to hive off the EMI music business, which includes the HMV record chain and Dillons bookshops.

The announcement sent the share price racing from below £10 to almost £17 but stockbrokers suggest the break up value of the group could be almost £20 a share.

Analysts are predicting that Thorn EMI's third quarter results to the end of December will show pre tax profits of between £235 million and £260 million compared with almost £200 million in the corresponding period in the previous year.

Last month its Virgin business, which Thorn bought from Mr Richard Branson in 1992 for £510 million, signed up Ms Janet Jackson for £50 million.

Industry analysts believe the group's rental business which includes Radio Rentals, has enjoyed a considerably more prosperous year following the closure of the Rumbelows stores.