Universal Music has confirmed it has now received the European Commission’s Statement Of Objections as part of the Euro-regulator’s investigation into its plan to buy the EMI record companies.
Although a routine part of the EC’s investigation, it is thought the statement will see Universal, which has previously resisted (publicly at least) offering concessions to smooth over the deal, now start to put forward remedies that could reassure regulators regards their key concerns, which are thought to centre in the main on the dominance a combined Universal/EMI would have over the digital market place.
Confirming the EC regulator’s statement had now been received, the major said yesterday: “As part of the European Commission’s customary process when considering mergers, they have provided us with a Statement Of Objections. We are preparing a detailed response to the Commission’s statement which will address the concerns outlined in this procedural document. We will continue to work closely with the Commission and look forward to securing regulatory clearance”.
As previously reported, Universal chief Lucian Grainge and EMI boss Roger Faxon are both expected to appear before the US Senate’s anti-trust subcommittee tomorrow to answer questions about the proposed Universal/EMI merger. Live Nation’s Irving Azoff is also expected to speak in support of the deal, while Warner Music board member and former CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr, Beggars Group chief Martin Mills and Gigi Sohn of American lobby group Public Knowledge will speak against.
Both US and EC competition regulators are considering the deal. Meanwhile a separate bid by a Sony-led consortium to buy the EMI music publishing business is still awaiting approval from American regulators, having been OK-ed by European officials subject to certain remedies.
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