jueves, 16 de mayo de 2013
Warner Music Gains Approval to Buy Parlophone, a Last Piece of EMI
European regulators on Wednesday approved the Warner Music Group’s purchase of the Parlophone Label Group, tying up one of the last loose ends from the $4.1 billion breakup of EMI.
The Universal Music Group, the world’s largest music company, agreed in late 2011 to pay $1.9 billion for EMI’s recorded music assets, including music by the Beatles and the Beach Boys, among hundreds of others. But after long negotiations with the European Commission, Universal was forced to sell about a third of those assets to preserve competition in the market. (In a parallel deal, an investor group led by Sony paid $2.2 billion for EMI’s music publishing division.)
In February, Warner made a $765 million deal for the Parlophone group, a large chunk of EMI that includes some of its biggest labels, like Parlophone and Chrysalis; operations across Europe; and the rights to release albums by major artists like Coldplay, Radiohead and Pink Floyd. Approval from the European Commission was widely expected for the Parlophone deal because Warner is the smallest of the three remaining major record companies.
“The commission’s investigation confirmed that the proposed transaction would not raise competition concerns,” the regulator said in a statement, “in particular because following the acquisition, W.M.G. will continue to face competition from the two remaining major music companies, namely Universal Music Group (‘U.M.G.’) and Sony, as well as from independent music labels.”
Since the acquisition of Parlophone has been approved in the United States, Warner Music is expected to close the deal in coming weeks.
Warner worked to win approval from independents by promising those groups the opportunity to buy “a significant portion” of the Parlophone assets. The details of that deal have not been made public, but on Wednesday, Helen Smith, the executive chair of Impala, a group that represents thousands of small music companies, said in a statement: “This marks the beginning of a new chapter for independent labels and their artists.”
Also this week, Warner Music announced that Edgar M. Bronfman Jr. had resigned from the company’s board. Mr. Bronfman helped buy the label in 2004, and served as its chief executive until 2011, when Access Industries bought Warner Music for $3.3 billion.
By Ben Sisario