Viviendi's Jean-Rene Fourtou To Push EMG Deal To EU
July 6, 2012 at 2:08 PM (PT)
VIVENDI Chairman JEAN-RENÉ FOURTOU has taken the reins of UMG’s bid for EMI MUSIC, the FINANCIAL TIMES reports. He will immediately attempt to persuade European regulators not to block the £1.2 billion deal or demand costly concessions.
Unlike former VIVENDI CEO JEAN-BERNARD LÉVY, who abruptly resigned weeks ago (NET NEWS, 6/29) FOURTOU will be "willing to make concessions to quell fears that the deal could harm smaller labels and crush digital music innovation."
The new strategy should make it less likely that Vivendi will sell or spin off UMG as it reviews restructuring options to calm restive investors. "The European Commission won’t want to humiliate VIVENDI at a time when it’s weak," one source told FT.
UMG Responds In Writing
As reported earlier, The EU Commission heard from UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP to address concerns on its planned purchase of EMI MUSIC, and REUTERS reports "UNIVERSAL MUSIC will not seek an oral hearing with EU regulators but will rely on bilateral meetings and written submissions to allay competition concerns about its planned buy of an EMI unit."
"The feeling is that an oral debate is not the best place for complex and detailed discussions and analysis of the deal," a source told REUTERS, adding "it was felt that this would be best served through written submissions and meeting with the competition authorities."
UMG originally had until JULY 3rd to address the concerns expressed in a 194-page statement of objections the EU Commission released in JUNE.
While the sale of EMI PUBLISHING sailed through both U.S and EU regulators, the UNIVERSAL purchase of EMI MUSIC is getting much closer scrutiny, with many insiders wondering if the deal might eventually fail.