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Universal wins approval for EMI buy

EU antitrust regulators have cleared Universal Music Group to buy EMI's recorded music unit.

A shop employee holds an empty basket as in a shop selling music CDs in Hong Kong. Picture: AFP.

BRUSSELS - EU antitrust regulators cleared Universal Music Group to buy British record company EMI's recorded music unit for $1.9 billion on Friday after the Vivendi-owned company promised to sell some of EMI's most valuable record labels.

The European Commission said in a statement that the asset sales, ranging from EMI's Parlophone label to Chrysalis, Mute, EMI Classics and also Universal labels such as Sanctuary and Co-op Music Ltd, allayed its concerns about the combined group's market power.

Reuters reported on 3 September that the EU watchdog would clear the takeover after Universal offered to sell global rights to some of EMI's record labels and catalogues.

"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," EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in a statement.

Citigroup Inc is selling EMI, having acquired the music group when buyout firm Terra Firma defaulted on loans owed to the investment bank.

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