BRUSSELS — The European Commission Friday opened an in-depth investigation of the proposed purchase of British music label EMI Music by Vivendi subsidiary Universal Music Group, over competition concerns.
“The proposed acquisition could reduce competition in the recorded music market to the detriment of European consumers,” the EU’s Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in a statement.
“The commission needs to make sure that consumers continue to have access to a wide variety of music in different physical and digital formats at competitive conditions,” Almunia added.
Universal Music Group last Novemeber announced its purchase of EMI from US bank Citigroup for £1.2 billion (1.4 billion euros, $1.9 billion).
EMI — home to a galaxy of stars including The Beatles, Coldplay and US pop starlet Katy Perry — was seized by its main creditor Citigroup in February 2011 from private equity owner Terra Firma.
The purchase price represented seven times EMI gross profits before synergies, Vivendi had said.
The deal did not include EMI’s music publishing unit which is to be sold to a group of investors led by Sony for $2.2 billion (£1.4 billion).
The commission is expected to review that deal in April.
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Photo AFP/File, Carl de Souza