Universal?s EMI purchase approved, Kylie, Bowie, Coldplay leave label

The European Commission has approved Universal Music’s proposed $1.9bn (£1.2bn) purchase of the EMI record company, on the condition that the major agrees to some significant divestments of EMI assets in Europe, and of some of its own units, Music Week has reported.

While the EC has approved the deal, it has also raised concerns hat the transaction, as initially notified, would have allowed Universal to significantly worsen the licencing terms it offered to digital platforms that sell music to consumers. However, in light of the "substantial" commitments that have been offered since by Universal, the Commission said it concluded that the transaction would no longer raise competition concerns.

As part of the strict conditions, Universal will have to divest the Parlophone label, home to such artists as Coldplay, Lily Allen, David Bowie, Tinie Tempah, Gorillaz, Kylie Minogue and Tina Turner, EMI France, which houses the David Guetta catalogue, EMI’s classical music labels, Mute, where acts include Moby and Depeche Mode, Chrysalis, where the catalogues of acts including Jethro Tull reside, other labels and a large number of local EMI entities. The divestment also takes in Co-opeartive, which handles marketing for various indie labels.

Universal has also agreed to sell EMI’s 50 per cent stake in Now That’s What I Call Music and to continue to license its releases for the brand for the decade, although it will keep its own stake in the joint venture.

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