Pop star Robbie Williams signed a new deal with music giant EMI on Wednesday that record industry sources said is the biggest in British music history, worth around £80 million ($125 million). "I am rich beyond my wildest dreams," a beaming Williams told reporters at an impromptu news conference outside his management's west London offices. Dressed in blue jeans and a black sleeveless T-shirt, he added, "I want to make records and break records with EMI."
While Williams has been romantically linked to many high-profile women, including former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, the former member of boy band Take That has always been winkingly coy about his sexual orientation and his relationship with his longtime male roommate.
Other labels, including Sony, Bertelsmann's BMG, and Richard Branson's V2, were reported to be chasing the 28-year-old singer, a heartthrob who has been hailed as the next Frank Sinatra. EMI has guided his career since he left Take That, but his contract expired earlier this year. The deal includes £10 million up front, £15 million on completion of the first album, and about £55 million for the remaining three, the sources said. The contract is structured to meet strict sales targets and aims to help Williams become a star in the United States, a market he has failed to break into.