Universal Music Gets EU Antitrust Complaint on EMI Deal

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Vivendi's music arm says it will put together a detailed response to regulators’ concerns about the proposed $1.9 billion acquisition.

Vivendi’s Universal Music Group has received a long-expected antitrust complaint from European Union regulators about its proposed $1.9 billion acquisition of EMI Group’s recorded music unit.

The unit is the home of such stars as Katy Perry and Coldplay.

The European Commission this week has provided the music giant with a "statement of objections" that outlines reasons for blocking the transaction, a spokesman for Universal Music said. "We will continue to work closely with the commission and look forward to securing regulatory clearance," he added.

Companies that receive objections to a planned deal can seek an oral hearing and offer the sale of assets to win regulatory approval. UMG said it is planning to put together a detailed response to the regulators’ concerns.

EU regulators, which expressed concern about the size and market power of the merged entity when they launched their review in March, have set a Sept. 6 deadline to decide on the proposed deal.

Citigroup late last year unveiled deals to sell EMI's recorded music business to UMG and the EMI music publishing division to a Sony Corp.-led group in deals valued at $4.1 billion.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai