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EU approves Universal's $2.09B BMG buy

May 22, 2007 at 2:21 PM

BRUSSELS, May 22 (UPI) -- EU regulators approved Universal Music Group's $2.09 billion purchase of BMG Music Publishing, the European Commission said Tuesday.

The commission said the deal to create the world's biggest music-publishing company originally "raised serious doubts" about online music competition in Europe.

But it said it set its concerns aside after Universal said it would sell its Zomba UK, 19 Music, 19 Songs, BBC music publishing and Rondor UK catalogs, as well as the European license for the Zomba U.S. catalog.

These catalogs contain many bestselling titles and several successful authors such as the Kaiser Chiefs, Justin Timberlake and R. Kelly, the commission said.

"I am satisfied that the significant remedies will keep these markets competitive and ensure that consumers will not be harmed by the merger," competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said.

The new Universal Music Publishing Group, led from Los Angeles by Chief Executive Officer David Renzer, will have 22 percent of the market, moving it ahead of Britain's EMI Group PLC.

Its artists will include U2, Shania Twain, Bon Jovi, Prince, 50 Cent, Fatboy Slim, Brian McKnight, Shania Twain, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, Elton John, Elvis Costello, Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Frank Sinatra, Leonard Bernstein and Henry Mancini.

EMI said Monday it agreed to a $4.7 billion takeover by British private-equity firm Terra Firma Capital Partners.

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