As expected, the European Union has granted approval of Universal Music Group's acquisition of EMI Music, though UMG has agreed to a number of concessions. According to reports, Universal has agreed to divest roughly one-third of EMI's assets in Europe, including the Parlophone label. UMG must also sell of some of EMI's smaller labels (including Mute and Chrysalis) and subsidiaries in nine countries, along with a few of Universal's own assets overseas. UMG has also agreed to market controls that will determine how the label conducts its business with digital music services.
When all is said and done, UMG will have sold off global rights to some of EMI's biggest acts, including Coldplay, Gorillaz, David Bowie and Pink Floyd, though it will retain the lucrative rights to The Beatles' catalog. Universal must also sell EMI's 50 percent stake in the NOW compilation series.
In a statement, Commission Vice-President in charge of competition policy Joaquín Almunia said, "Competition in the music business is crucial to preserve choice, cultural diversity and innovation. In this investigation, we have paid close attention to digital innovation, which is changing the way that people listen to music. The very significant commitments proposed by Universal will ensure that competition in the music industry is preserved and that European consumers continue to enjoy all its benefits."
Earlier this week, Australian regulators gave approval to UMG-EMI, with no concessions required.