The European Commission set an initial deadline of March 23 to rule on the deal, it said on its website today.
Universal Music “will work closely with the commission” the company said in an e-mailed statement and is “confident of securing clearance” for the deal.
Citigroup Inc. (C) agreed in November to sell EMI Group’s recorded-music and publishing businesses in separate transactions for a combined $4.1 billion. Universal will buy EMI’s record labels, home to Katy Perry and Coldplay, for 1.2 billion pounds ($1.9 billion). A Sony Corp.-led group that includes billionaire David Geffen will pay $2.2 billion for the publishing unit, according to statements in November.
Warner Music Group, an unsuccessful bidder for EMI, will lobby in the U.S. and Europe against the sale of the company to Universal, retiring Chairman Edgar Bronfman Jr. has said.
Impala, a group of independent music companies, said today that it will also complain to regulators about the sale because it may harm competition. The group won a 2006 court ruling overturning the EU’s approval of Sony and Bertelsmann AG to form the Sony BMG record label.
Impala said it expects an “outright rejection” of the merger bid.
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