New Zealand Approves UMG-EMI Deal As U.S. Hearings Begin
June 21, 2012
The Universal Music Group deal to acquire EMI's recorded music division has been approved by regulators in New Zealand. Music Week reports that the New Zealand Commerce Commission notified UMG today that it had given a thumbs-up to the deal, making them the first jurisdiction in the world to grant approval.
A Universal spokesperson told Music Week that "The NZCC undertook a very thorough investigative process under chairman Dr. Mark Berry, working with our legal team and with Universal Music New Zealand managing director AdamHolt."
Meanwhile in the U.S., hearings began today on the UMG-EMI sale, with a number of high-level music executives set to speak in front of an antitrust Senate Judiciary subcommittee. As previously reported, UMG Chairman Lucian Grainge and EMICEO Roger Faxon will appear to defend the sale, along with Live Nation/Front Line Management head Irving Azoff. Warner Music Group board member Edgar Bronfman, Jr.,Beggars Group Chairman Martin Mills and Public Knowledge President Gigi Sohn are expected to testify against the sale.
Reuters quoted the prepared testimony of Azoff, with the executive saying that increased competition in digital music will make the merger of the two labels less of an issue. "With services like iTunes, CD Baby, Top Spin, Reverb Nation, Pro Tools, Facebook, Spotify - you name it - artists can do everything themselves very professionally," Azoff says.