Universal Music moves closer to EMI takeover

Source: UMG has paid most of $1.9 bil purchase price to Citigroup

Though Universal Music Group’s acquisition of EMI Music’s labels was still pending late last week, UMG has now paid much of the $1.9 billion purchase price, as mandated in the company’s agreement with seller Citigroup, a source with knowledge of the transaction confirmed Monday.

Late last week, as representatives of the European Union convened in Brussels to vote on the deal, UMG paid $1.6 billion to Citigroup, which assumed control of EMI late last year after previous owner Terra Firma Equity Partners defaulted on its loan.

As part of its agreement to buy EMI’s labels, UMG had agreed to assume regulatory risk in the transaction and to pay most of the purchase price by Sept. 9.

Late on Monday, no definitive word about European regulators’ decision regarding the deal had surfaced.

An official announcement from the European Commission was expected late this month at the latest; a stateside decision by the Federal Trade Commission is expected at roughly the same time.

UMG had already agreed to make major divestments in Europe to assuage fears about the merged companies’ market dominance in several territories there (Daily Variety, July 30).

The purchase of EMI Music Publishing for $2.2 billion by an investor consortium led by Sony/ATV Music was approved in late June.

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