European Commission Approves UMG Purchase Of BMG Pub
May 22, 2007 at 7:32 AM (PT)
The EUROPEAN COMMISSION said it has cleared VIVENDI SA's UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP's proposed 1.63 billion-euro acquisition of BERTELSMANN AG's BMG PUBLISHING arm, subject to conditions. The COMMISSION said its "serious doubts" as to the effects on competition of the deal would be "removed" by the remedies package proposed by the parties concerning the divestiture of a number of publishing catalogues.
UNIVERSAL has committed to divest a number of important catalogues, covering Anglo-American copyrights and contracts with artists. These catalogues include the European Economic Area (EEA) activities of ZOMBA UK, 19 MUSIC, 19 SONGS, BBC MUSIC PUBLISHING, RONDOR UK as well as an EEA licence for the catalogue of ZOMBA U.S.
EU Competition Commissioner NEELIE KROES said, "Digital music has the potential to change the face of the music industry in EUROPE. I am satisfied that the significant remedies will keep these markets competitive and ensure that consumers will not be harmed by the merger."
The deal would combine the #3 and #4 music publishing catalogues by market share, resulting in a combined 22% market share that would scrape ahead of current market leader, the UK's EMI GROUP.