EC approves Terra Firma's $4.8 bil EMI bid
EmptyBRUSSELS -- The European Commission on Thursday approved private equity group Terra Firma Capital Partners' £2.4 billion ($4.8 billion) takeover bid for EMI Group.
The clearance for the planned buyout comes despite attempts by many EMI shareholders to encourage a counter bid from fellow major Warner Music Group for the British-based music giant.
The Commission -- the European Union's antitrust authority -- cleared the deal under its simplified procedures, which apply when there are no obvious competition problems or complaints from rivals during a one-month period.
Terra Firma, headquartered in Guernsey, is still appealing to EMI shareholders to accept its bid 265 pence ($5.38) a share in cash. Last week, the investment company said it had secured just 3.56% of EMI's issued share capital.
The EMI board recommended in May that its shareholders accept the Terra Firma offer because it delivered "cash now, without regulatory uncertainty." However, several are waiting for rival Warner Music to lodge a possibly higher offer.
Warner Music and EMI have been in on-and-off merger discussions over the past seven years, but their talks have been hampered over pricing differences and concerns about possible regulatory obstacles.
In 2006, EMI rejected a Warner bid for 315 pence ($6.40) per share, just after an EU court annulled a merger between the recorded-music units of Sony Music and Bertelsmann to create Sony BMG Music Entertainment. The European Commission is still re-examining that deal.