Universal’s bid under scrutiny

Company's acquisition of BMG under way

LONDON — Universal Music’s ambition to become the biggest powerhouse in music publishing, as well as in recorded music sales, looks set to be fulfilled.

Universal’s $2.2 billion acquisition of BMG’s music publishing arm was sent for scrutiny by the European Commission after independent music companies voiced their concern that the deal may hurt their businesses.

According to the Financial Times, the antitrust watchdog is ready to give the green light to the takeover after Universal offered to sell parts of BMG’s vast song catalog, including the rights to music by Britney Spears, the Spice Girls and Dire Straits.

Theme tunes to popular BBC television programs, such as “Teletubbies,” will also be sold off and the rival publishing houses of Sony ATV, Warner Chappell and EMI may be eying up bids for the different components of the sale.

The commission has a deadline of June 1 to announce its decision, but Brussels observers believe Universal will be given the go-ahead to proceed with its buyout within days.

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