Universal-BMG merger back on track

EC gives blessing to union

The European Commission has given Universal Music Group the green light to proceed with its $2.1 billion acquisition of BMG Music Publishing.

However, the Brussels-based regulators hinted that the deal might not have been approved had U not committed to selling the song catalogs of Rondor U.K. and Zomba U.K., as well as the European rights to Zomba U.S. The concession applies only to Europe, however, as Universal will retain the rights to represent those catalogs in the U.S. and the rest of the world outside Europe.

And despite putting those significant portfolios — which include songs by artists such as Kaiser Chiefs, Dire Straits, Iron Maiden, Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, Justin Timberlake and R. Kelly — on the market, U will become the largest music publishing house in the world when the deal closes, it is said, “very shortly.”

“The merging of Universal Music Publishing Group with BMG Music will create a publishing business that is even better suited to serve our songwriters, composers and business partners in this challenging marketplace,” said Zach Horowitz, president and chief operating officer of Universal Music Group, in a statement.

Upon closure of the acquisition, the combined company will operate under the Universal Music Publishing Group brand and will be led by Los Angeles-based David Renzer, its current chairman-CEO.

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