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Warner Music to Oppose Universal Music’s EMI Deal, Bronfman Says

Warner Music Group, an unsuccessful bidder for EMI Group, will lobby in the U.S. and Europe against the sale of the company to competitor Universal Music Group, retiring Chairman Edgar Bronfman Jr. said.

“It’s extreme hubris that Universal Music even believes it can acquire EMI,” Bronfman said today at an All Things D conference in Dana Point, California.

Vivendi SA’s Universal Music, the biggest record company worldwide, would be a dangerous competitor if it’s allowed to buy EMI, Bronfman said. Universal Music’s market share, combined with EMI’s, would allow the company to set terms with artists and consumers, he said.

Citigroup Inc., which took control of London-based EMI after the company fell out of compliance with debt covenants, is selling the recorded music business to Universal and the publishing operation to a group led by Sony Corp. The deal requires regulatory approval.

Peter Lofrumento, a spokesman for Universal Music, didn’t immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

Bronfman said in December he would step down as chairman of New York-based Warner Music, effective today. Warner Music was acquired by billionaire Len Blavatnik in July for $1.3 billion plus assumed debt.

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