EU Approval For UMG-EMI Deal Seems Imminent
September 6, 2012 at 4:05 AM (PT)
As reported by ALL ACCESS last week (NET NEWS 8/31), a vote is expected in the EUROPEAN UNION this month on approving UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP's $1.9 billion bid for EMI MUSIC. According to a report in BUSINESSWEEK.COM, citing three people familiar with the situation, "A positive vote on the deal by the national agencies may allow the EUROPEAN COMMISSION to rule on the purchase as soon as a SEPTEMBER 19th meeting, said two of the people, who couldn't be identified because the process isn’t public."
THE FINANCIAL TIMES now confirms "Barring any further mishaps, EMI -– the British music company behind THE BEATLES, THE SEX PISTOLS and KATY PERRY -– will shortly pass into French hands. If, as expected, European competition commissioner JOAQUÍN ALMUNIA clears the deal, with concessions, by SEPTEMBER 27th, UNIVERSAL and VIVENDI will no doubt celebrate. However, their victory is looking increasingly hollow."
The report notes the concessions UMG has to make to get approval to acquire EMI MUSIC, and notes the deal leaves, "CITIGROUP as arguably the biggest winner, as the bank will recover all of the money it lent Mr. HANDS [EMI's previous owner]. The loan led to five years of embarrassment after the deal went wrong, and costly legal fees for successfully defending Mr. HANDS' claims. UNIVERSAL's legal bills for its BRUSSELS battle will not be small, either. It seems it will be bankers and lawyers -– not music industry suits -– who are singing as EMI is broken up for good."