Universal Music Group May Sell More Assets For EMI Deal Approval

Opponents of merger say concessions don't go far enough

August 10, 2012 10:25 AM ET

Universal Music Group may have to further pare EMI's recorded music business to satisfy opponents of a proposed merger, reports Bloomberg.

Universal officials met with European Union regulators yesterday in Brussels, Belgium, to discuss UMG's $1.9 billion EMI deal and proposed sales of assets. Despite UMG's offer to relinquish EMI divisions including Parlophone, the massive music conglomerate could be forced to divest a bigger chunk of EMI's European business to win approval of the deal.

While the majority of third parties are satisfied with UMG's concessions, which include an offer to sell 60 percent of EMI's European assets, some opponents of the deal still say the merger would hinder competition by creating a company with too much power. To address those concerns, UMG could sell an additional $370 million in EMI's global rights, which analysts say would make the deal less attractive for Universal.

UMG had offered last month to sell EMI's Parlophone label – home to the Beatles, Coldplay, Blur, the Chemical Brothers, Queen and more – to help their merger gain approval, though Universal planned to retain the Beatles catalog. In April, regulators approved Sony's $2.2 billion acquisition of EMI's publishing arm.

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