Universal Music considers bulk sale of EMI asset: FT

LONDON Thu Jul 26, 2012 7:43pm EDT

A man enters EMI offices in west London August 18, 2010. REUTERS/Toby Melville

A man enters EMI offices in west London August 18, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Toby Melville

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LONDON (Reuters) - Universal Music is considering selling the bulk of EMI's most valuable subsidiary record label, as it attempts to ease concerns raised by EU regulators about a planned buyout deal, the Financial Times reported on Friday.

Universal, owned by Vivendi, is considering selling the bulk of Parlophone, home to some of EMI's most high-profile musicians, but retaining its most prized assets, including Coldplay and the Beatles.

BMG, the music publishing joint venture between Bertelsmann and the private equity group KKR, has met Universal and expressed its interest in Parlophone, people familiar with the situation are cited as saying.

Universal had planned to sell three music labels belonging to takeover target EMI, and is now offering Parlophone, in part, to address EU reservations about the group's clout in the CD and digital music markets.

The European Commission, which acts as competition regulator in the 27-member European Union, has been examining Universal's proposed $1.9 billion takeover deal of EMI since February.

The commission has warned Universal that its plan to buy EMI's recorded music business will significantly impede competition, and may veto the planned takeover unless there are major concessions.

Universal is hoping to submit a much-delayed package of proposed remedies as soon as Friday to address the European Commission, the FT said.

(Reporting by Stephen Mangan; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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