UMG May Sell $350 Million In EMI Assets For EU Approval
September 11, 2012
More details continue to emerge about Universal Music Group's potential concessions to European Union regulators to win approval of its deal for EMI Music. According to today's New York Post, UMG is "already eager to unload upwards of $350 million in assets" to win the EU's approval. UMG owner Vivendi is reportedly looking forward to selling off pieces of EMI "because it could use the cash after agreeing to the mega-deal," according to the Post's sources.
As previously reported, the European Commission's approval of UMG-EMI is expected any day now. The regulators have until September 27 to reach a decision.
Sources tell the Post that to prep for the sale, UMG has hired Goldman Sachs and Bank of America as advisers. The paper adds that "Music bankers interested in participating in the deal are hoping to learn more details of the disposals such as territories, deal deadlines and whether the assets will be sold as part of a single auction or conducted separately."
As expected, the global rights to Parlophone are expected to be put on sale, along with the European rights to Mute, EnsignEMI Classics and Virgin Classics. The Post lists BMG Rights, Sony Music, Warner Music Group, Ron Perelman, Richard Branson and European indie label owners James Palumbo, Patrick Zelnick and Daniel Miller among the parties interested in bidding on EMI's properties.
In the U.S, the Federal Trade Commission is expected to sign off on the deal soon. David Balto, a former policy director at the FTC who dealt with music-related issues, told the Post, "[UMG] has a pretty clear glide path to clearance from here." He added that the FTC is much more interested in whether consumers are harmed by higher pricing, while the EC is focused on leveling the competitive playing field.
Meanwhile, Billboard.biz reports that on Monday Vivendi confirmed it recently made a payment required as part of the EMI deal. As part of its agreement with Citi, Vivendi had agreed to make an initial payment of approximately $1.6 billion.