EU Approves Universal EMI Deal [OFFICIAL]
European Union regulators have approved Universal Music Group's $1.9 billion purchase of EMI's recorded music holdings from bankers Citi. To get the nod, UMG has agreed to sell assets that generate about 30% of EMI's current annual revenue and approximately 10% of the combined companies.
"The very significant commitments proposed by Universal will ensure that competition in the music industry is preserved and that European consumers continue to enjoy all its benefits," EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in a statement.
Those circling EMI's jettisoned assets are Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, Warner Music Group, BMG and several private equity groups.
UMG says it will sell Parlophone, home to Coldplay and Queen. But the prized Beatles catalog will be excluded and shifts to Universal. Also for sale are the labels Mute, Ensign, Chrysalis, EMI Classics, Virgin Classics, and EMI's share of the popular "NOW! That's what I call music" compilations.
EMI units in France, Spain, Belgium, Denmark, Poland, Czech Republic, Portugal, Sweden and Norway are also on the block. Additionally, Universal says it will also sell several of it's divisions Sanctuary, Co-Op Music Ltd, King Island Roxystar, MPS Records and Jazzland.
One More Approval Needed
Regulators in Japan, Australia and several other major territories have also approved the deal, leaving only the U.S, Federal Trade Commission as last best hope for those that oppose the merger as monopolistic. They could weigh in as early as next week, and seem likely to take an approach similar to today's qualified EU approval.