Universal Music are set to announce that they’ve concluded a deal to purchase the recorded music division of EMI for £1.2 billion, according to reports.
The Guardian claim that Universal beat the supposed favourites to wrap up the deal, Warner Music, and will soon be the owners of EMI’s recorded music division, which includes artists such as The Beatles, Coldplay and Tinie Tempah.
They also suggest that the sale will be just the first stage in the break-up of EMI. In particular, a consortium led by rivals Sony are thought to be close to finalising a deal to buy its music publishing division for over $2 billion (£1.26 billion). Universal, meanwhile, will now account for a third of all music sales worldwide.
It was announced in June that US bank Citigroup, who took control of the label in March this year, wanted to put EMI up for sale.
Earlier this week, it was reported that singer David Bowie was on the verge of leaving EMI, with both Universal Music and Sony Music thought to be in talks to sign the Thin White Duke when his 15-year association with the label comes to an end in January. Former Take That singer Robbie Williams also decided to walk away from EMI last month over reported disagreements about how the label was being run.
Universal, meanwhile, are being sued by Public Enemy’s Chuck D after he alleged that they had underpaid him his royalties for digital downloads, although a UMG spokesperson described the rapper’s complaint as suffering from “serious flaws and weaknesses”.