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Harry Styles at centre of bidding war

ShowbizBy Sunday World
Harry Styles at centre of bidding war

Harry Styles is set to leave Simon Cowell's record label.

The 22-year-old singer is reportedly at the centre of a bidding war between Sony - the parent company of Syco - and Universal, who are keen to sign him up to Capitol Records and run his career from the US.

If he leaves Syco and Sony - which have looked after One Direction since they were signed after competing on 'The X Factor' in 2010 - for Capitol, Harry's labelmates will include Katy Perry, Beck, The Beach Boys and Eagles.

The label is run by British executive Steve Barnett, who got to know Harry when launching 5 Seconds of Summer, but Universal boss Lucian Grainge - who once tried to lure One Direction away from Sony - is said to be playing a key role in getting Harry to sign.

A source told The Sun newspaper: "It was obvious from day one that Harry wouldn't stay with Simon Cowell, Syco or a Sony label.

"He wants to move as far away from the band as possible and for him that means an entirely new team based in America.

"It's all part of a masterplan being driven by his friend Jeff Azoff, who has set up his own management company to launch Harry as a solo superstar."

However, Sony are not going to give up on the hunky singer without a fight.

A Sony source said: "Harry is being offered so many incentives to stay. They're breaking the bank for him."

If he does sign with Universal, the company's many UK labels will be keen to represent him in his home country, with Polydor - which is home to Take That, Ellie Goulding and Cheryl Fernandez-Versini - seen as favourites to handle his career.

Despite the bidding war going on around him, Harry is currently focusing on his first movie role, in Christopher Nolan's drama 'Dunkirk', and won't be making any decisions about his pop career until filming has wrapped.

A source said: "He has made no decisions about his music future. He is close to many people at Sony and focusing on filming his first movie."