European Regulators Near Universal Music Group-EMI Deal Vote

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BMG Rights Management, meanwhile, confirms interest in some of the EMI assets.


LONDON - European regulators will vote next week on Universal Music Group’s $1.9 billion bid for EMI’s recorded music arm, which could set the stage for a final EU decision on the deal later in September, according to a report.

That timing would be in line with comments from sources who have said the final regulatory decision would come around mid-September.

Universal Music Group Faces Calls for More Asset Sales to Seal EMI Deal

Meanwhile, the CEO of BMG Rights Management, the music publishing joint venture of German media giant Bertelsmann and private equity firm KKR, confirmed his interest in some of the EMI assets that Universal Music Group is expected to divest as part of an agreement with regulators.

CEO Hartwig Masuch told the Financial Times that his company was “very interested” in adding to its collection of music copyrights by buying master recordings. He said BMG was in non-exclusive talks with UMG.

 BMG is expected to bid against private equity groups and possible other suitors in an auction that could begin in October.

Bloomberg News said that a vote by national regulators next week could allow the European Commission to rule on the acquisition as soon as Sept. 19.

A final decision must come before a Sept. 27 deadline, it added.

Vivendi, which owns UMG, on Thursday said during a quarterly earnings press conference that it expects regulatory approval next month.

UMG has offered to sell global rights to EMI labels that it earlier promised to divest, partly to sell 60 percent of EMI’s European assets to limit the merged entity's market power.

Among proposed divestitures is the sale of global rights to Parlophone Records, the home to Coldplay and the Beastie Boys, Bloomberg said.

UMG couldn't immediately be reached for comment.