Universal's Bid For EMI Faces Another Challenge

14 May 2012 | 11:30 am | Scott Fitzsimons

A congress hearing is another step that Universal's bid for EMI has to face.

In what is another review that needs to be cleared before Universal Music Group can action their purchase of EMI Music, an American Senate panel will hold a hearing on the $1.9 billion purchase, which will give Universal about a 40 percent of the recorded music market in approved.

The Wall Street Journal reports that no date has been set for the congress hearing, to be conducted by the Senate Judiciary Committee's antitrust subcommittee, but it is unlikely to happen before late June.

The sale, one half of a deal that sees a Sony/ATV-led consortium pay $2.2 billion for EMI's Publishing arm, is also under the scrutiny from the US Federal Trade Commission and the European Commission. In a dramatic turn last month the Europeans gave Sony surprisingly quick clearance, but Universal's path is not expected to be as easy.

There has been no word from either the US of European bodies on the progress of a decision regarding Universal.

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In a statement Universal said, "We welcome the opportunity to answer any questions that the subcommittee may have, address the facts and debunk myths. Universal Music is committed to reinvesting in EMI to create even more opportunities for new and established artists, expand the marketplace with more music and support new digital services. We remain confident of regulatory approval."

As details of the process are few and far between, EMI staff around the world have been - and still are - facing a nervous year. Those concerns weren't helped by a leaked memo recently, that Sony planned to cut 60 percent of EMI Publishing's staff in its restructuring of the business.