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European regulators clear Universal to buy EMI

A street sign for Abbey Road in North London on which the Abbey Road recording studios stand, that have been put up for sale by their owner EMI on February 17, 2010 in London, England.

European regulators have cleared the way for Universal Music Group to buy EMI. The $1.9 billion deal would create a behemoth in the music world. It still has to be approved by U.S. regulators, though.

The deal has been a long time in the making. EMI, a world-famous recording company, was bought in 2007 by a private equity firm -- just a few weeks before the global financial crisis took hold. That private equity firm ultimately defaulted.

The deal has raised competitions concerns, so the Europeans, as is often the case, have a few conditions to assure the new entity doesn't have too much market power. The merged company would have to sell the labels of some of its biggest artists, including Coldplay, Pink Floyd, and David Bowie. The Beatles, however, get to stay. The combined group will control less than 40 percent of the recording market in the European Union.

 

 

About the author

Stephen Beard is the European bureau chief and provides daily coverage of Europe’s business and economic developments for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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