Sony To Get Clearance For EMI Purchase

19 April 2012 | 4:15 pm | Scott Fitzsimons

A formal announcement is expected in the next 24 hours, but sources are claiming Sony are in the clear.

Sony's $2.2 billion purchase of EMI's publishing arm will get the green light from the European Commission in Brussels in an announcement set to be later today.

Insiders have spoken to the Financial Times of the decision, which will likely serve to fast-track the sale of the division to the Sony/ATV-led consortium. The decision comes as something of a surprise to those who expected a far more thorough anti-trust investigation of the deal.

The other half of the deal, where Universal are looking to buy EMI's record label divisions for $1.8 billion, is expected to be subjected to that more thorough scrutiny.

The Financial Times report that to sweeten the deal Sony have offered to sell some of EMI Music Publishing's catalogues generating $31 million in revenue annually. The catalogues of Ozzy Osbourne, Culture Club and Tears For Fears have been mentioned. The sale appears to pundits as a small price to pay for a quick resolution from the Commission.

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The Commission has until September to report on full scale probe into Universal's plans. Universal's purchase has - in particular - sparked opposition from the likes of fellow major label Warner and independent label organisation Impala.

Yesterday it was revealed through a leaked internal Sony report that they intend to cut over 60 percent of EMI Publishing's staff over the next two years in a bid to dramatically cut operating costs of the division.

A staff-wide memo from Sony/ATV CEO Martin Bandier said the report was premature. In it he admitted, "If the transaction is approved by all the necessary agencies around the world, our current plan is to reduce the total number of employees of the two companies. The exact numbers or percentages are not final.

"Since our companies remain separate, we continue to learn more about the existing structure of EMI Music Publishing, which is quite different than when I was there, and evaluate the information we receive. Without a doubt, it is our intention to retain the best and brightest employees at both companies."

It is believed that Sony will make up a quarter of the world's publishing sales once the purchase goes through.