Warner Music Group’s (WMG) acquisition of iconic UK label Parlophone has just edged one step closer, with the news that the deal has been cleared by the European Commission (EC).
News of the proposed acquisition was first announced by WMG back in February, with the $765 million all-cash transaction expected to be completed some time in mid-2013, subject to various regulatory approvals around the world.
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Parlophone is the EMI-owned British label that signed the Beatles, and today is home to well-known names such as Coldplay and Kylie Minogue. Parlophone was sold following orders from the EC in the wake of EMI’s £1.2bn acquisition by Universal Music Group (UMG) over anti-competition concerns.
In its statement, the EC said:
“The Commission’s investigation confirmed that the proposed transaction would not raise competition concerns, in particular because following the acquisition, WMG will continue to face competition from the two remaining major music companies, namely Universal Music Group (“UMG”) and Sony, as well as from independent music labels.”
The EC added that some respondents to their investigation said that the proposed transaction could actually “reinforce competition, as it may lead to an increase of the competitive pressure exercised by WMG on both UMG and Sony.”
Parlophone comprises the majority of EMI’s assets, including the Parlophone label, which UMG said it would divest to gain the Commission’s clearance to snap up EMI’s recorded music business. It’s worth noting here, however, that UMG will retain the Beatles’ catalogue.
So, this is a major step towards regulatory clearance in the West, with the US and Brazil already giving the go-ahead. And it’s likely the acquisition will be finalized by the summer as expected.