The New York Times has reported that U.S. and European regulators have approved Universal’s $1.9 billion purchase of EMI.
The takeover had already been approved in Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and by the U.S.’s Federal Trade Commission. To gain approval by the European Commission, however, Universal was forced to sell off a number of assets it stood to acquire in the deal.
Among what Universal has agreed to relinquish includes Parlophone, EMI’s largest European label, as well as several subsidaries and additional independent labels. Among the artists Universal will give up the rights to are Coldplay, Pink Floyd, Kylie Minogue, David Bowie and more. They will, however, retain the rights to The Beatles’ catalog.
In total, Universal was forced to relinquish about a third of EMI’s holdings, which were said to generate about $450 million annually. Universal will have six months to sell the assets.
“The restrictions were put into place to prevent Universal from gaining an overly dominating market presence in an industry that thrives on competition.
“Competition in the music business is crucial to preserve choice, cultural diversity and innovation,” said the E.U.’s competition commissioner Joaquín Almunia. “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.”
You can read the full statement from the E.U. here.