Universal set to become first bidders for EMI

The British label is being sold off by Citigroup

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Universal Music Group is expected to be an early bidder for the EMI group, according to sources.

Yesterday it was announced that US bank Citigroup, who took control of the label in March this year are set to put the label up for sale, opening up a bidding process likely to take months.

Now Universal, the largest of the four major record companies, will be the first to throw its hat into the ring, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Universal decided not to chase the acquisition of Warner Music Group when it was put up for auction earlier this year, primarily because a merger of the two companies would have struggled to meet monopoly legislation, since both companies have double digit market share in both Europe and the US.

But it is believed that a mash up of Universal and EMI would be an easier sell to regulators, since according to the most recent figures, EMI's market share was just under 9%.

For Warners' part, they are expected to launch a bid once their own sale has gone through. They were bought earlier this year by oligarch Len Blavatnik for $3.3 billion.

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