Vivendi SA’s Universal Music Group conceded to purchase the recorded-music assets of EMI Group from Citigroup Inc. for 1.2 billion pounds ($1.9 billion).
Vivendi’s Universal Music Group and Sony had won the auction for EMI’s recorded music and music publishing operations, overriding bids by archrivals Warner Music Group and BMG Music Publishing at the 11th hour.
Earlier on, Warner Music were on top of the bidding on the recorded music side, while BMG was leading on the song catalog side. However, Warner Music walked away from the auction after failing to agree to terms for taking over EMI’s pension liabilities.
On the other end, Sony got a last minute buck up from investment bank UBS, which agreed to lend it more than $1 billion in financing allowing it to trump BMG.
“The two companies coming in to buy the asset know the music industry well; they’re not going to have any false pretences about what will or won’t happen,” said Ben Rumley, a London-based analyst at Enders Analysis. “We might be getting close to the point where the decline, in the recorded side at least, is ending. We don’t see a lot of opportunities for growth.”
Citigroup Inc, which owns EMI, will earn a better-than-expected $4.1 billion from the two deals.
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