EMI Units to be Sold to Universal Music, Sony for $4.1 Billion

The Beatles - Portrait - P - 1964
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Citigroup is expected to sell the recorded music arm of the storied U.K. music firm to Vivendi's Universal Music and its publishing division to a group led by Sony for a total price tag that looks to come in ahead of industry expectations.

NEW YORK - In two deals worth $4.1 billion overall, Vivendi’s Universal Music Group is set to acquire EMI Group's recorded music division, while a group led by Sony Corp.'s music unit will walk away with EMI's music publishing arm, barring last-minute problems, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

Citigroup, which currently owns the U.K. music company, looks to get a better-than-expected price tag in the planned sale, which could be announced later on Friday or over the weekend, according to the paper. EMI artists include The Beatles, Norah Jones and Robbie Williams.

EMI’s recorded music arm will be sold to Universal Music for $1.9 billion, while the Sony-led group will pay $2.2 billion for the music publishing business, according to the Journal.

Universal Music was previously seen as paying around $1.5 billion after Warner Music withdrew a $1.5 billion offer after talks broke down with Citigroup. The publishing arm was seen as going for around $2 billion, with BMG Rights Management a key competitor for Sony in the bidding process.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai