July 29, 2012 15:09

Universal propose selling Parlophone for EMI deal

But label will keep the rights to The Beatles back catalogue

Universal propose selling Parlophone for EMI deal
Universal Music Group has reportedly proposed plans to drop the Parlophone label – but keeping The Beatles back-catalogue – to get their planned takeover of EMI through European competition regulators.

According to Music Week, UMG will sell off the roster and catalogues of artists on the Parlophone, Mute, Chrysalis (excluding Robbie Williams catalogue) and Ensign labels.

Included in the disposal deal will be the complete works by Pink Floyd and the recently concluded deal with David Guetta, including his back catalogue. However, this bundle is yet to be scrutinised by third-parties and potential buyers and is subject to change.

Surprisingly, considering Richard Branson mooted an interest in buying his former company, it looks likely that UMG will now keep hold of Virgin Records.

In a leaked memo to staff from EMI boss Roger Faxton, which was obtained by Music Week, he said: "As I am sure you will have read, the European Commission has raised formal objections about the effect of bringing EMI and Universal together, and the two parties have since been working to find a potential remedy.

"As you can imagine, there are often significant differences in view between the regulators and the company applying for approval, but in the end, the two need to find a way of bridging those differences so that the merger can go forward."

He added: "In the last few days, Universal has identified a possible set of solutions that it believes should resolve the Commission's concerns. I emphasize the word 'possible' because before a resolution can be finalized the regulator will seek the input of a variety of third parties."

Faxon went on to conclude that, should the regulators approve their "remedy" package, the sale of EMI to the Universal Music Group could be completed as early as the end of September 2012.

However, he stressed: "I think it is more realistic to plan for a close at the end of October. It is only at that point that any of the disposals could be put up for sale - and even then it will take some additional time for the sale to be completed of any businesses that are being divested.

"So as I say, we have some considerable time to make plans that take into account the needs of our artists, and in the meantime we will be working as hard as ever to deliver the successful outcomes that our artists so richly deserve."



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