EU and US regulators approve Universal Music-EMI $1.9 bn deal

Universal Music Group proposed $1.9-billion acquisition of British record company EMI's recorded music unit was today approved by European Union (EU) and US regulators after it agreed with the EU to sell some of EMI's most valuable record labels.

Although the US Federal Trade Commission approved the deal without conditions, the European Commission (EC) approved the deal after Universal Music owner, French media giant Vivendi agreed to sell some of EMI'S assets that include Parlophone label, Chrysalis, Mute, EMI Classics and also Universal labels such as Sanctuary and Co-op Music Ltd.

The EC, which was concerned over the potential market dominance of the merged company, said that post assets sale, the combined group would have a market share within the European Union of less than 40 per cent.

Universal's rivals, Warner Music and small independent labels, had fiercely opposed the deal, saying that the proposed acquisition could harm smaller companies.

"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," EC commissioner, Joaquin Almunia said in a statement.

"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," he added.