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Thursday, March 29, 2012
EU Decision on Sony and Universal EMI Take-over Expected In August


The European Commission revealed its plan to delay judgment on the take-over of British music publishing giant EMI until August.

EMI, whose artists include the Beatles, David Bowie and Radiohead, is at the centre of two controversial takeover bids led by Sony and Universal Music.

In November, Sony announced plans to buy EMI's music publishing business in a deal worth ?1.9bn. Meanwhile, Vivendi, which owns Universal, agreed a deal of around €1.5bn for EMI's recorded music unit. Last week, the EU executive pushed back its deadline for deciding on Sony's bid from April 2nd to the 19th.

Music publishers claim that the takeover would give Sony and Universal a combined market share of 60%.

However, both Universal and Sony, who are acting in partnership with US private equity fund Blackstone, told the Commission earlier this week that they would sell off parts of their existing catalogues in a bid to secure the Commission's approval of the deal.

Officials from the Commission's anti-trust unit launched a detailed investigation into whether the take-overs would lead to an effective duopoly in the music market earlier this month. The Commission to focus its probe on how the deal would increase the power of Sony and Universal to control prices and other terms.


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