The European Commission (EC) said it had given its nod to the deal by Sony Corporation of America (SCA) and UAE-based fund Mubadala Development Company PJSC to buy British EMI’s music publishing unit, subject to the buyers carrying out the promised divestitures to allay competition concerns.
SCA, a subsidiary of Japanese Sony Corp, and Mubadala unveiled the USD2.2bn (EUR1.7bn) definitive deal with EMI’s vendor Citigroup (NYSE:C) last November and submitted it for the EC review in February 2012.
SCA and Mubadala have offered to sell the worldwide publishing rights to four catalogues and the musical works of 12 contemporary authors, so that the online music publishing business will be maintained in a way that would not affect consumer choice and cultural diversity, commissioner Joaquin Almunia in charge of competition policy, said.
The regulator said its initial review revealed serious concerns regarding the deal’s effects on the internal market in the area of online licensing of copyrights. As initially notified, the transaction would have given the combined group full or partial ownership of publishing rights in more than half of chart hits in the UK and Ireland, affecting customers’ ability to license music in these countries as well as at multi-territorial and pan-European levels.
However, after reviewing the remedies proposed by the buyers, the regulator concluded that the deal would no longer have a significant impact on competition in Europe, the EC said.
With the acquisition of EMI Music Publishing, owner of legendary copyrights, Sony will serve its strategy to widen the operations of Sony/ATV Music Publishing, the buyer has said.
EMI Music Publishing represents and manages 1.3m music copyrights covering all genres, periods and global territories.