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Vivendi Said to Consider Selling Virgin Records for EMI Deal

Vivendi SA’s Universal Music Group is considering selling music labels such as Virgin Records to win regulatory approval for the 1.2 billion-pound ($1.9 billion) takeover of EMI Group, said a person with knowledge of the matter.

Other labels that could be offered for sale include EMI Classics, Capitol Records and Parlophone Records, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the plans are not public. Universal will present potential concessions to European competition regulators in Brussels this week, the person said.

Universal would be almost twice the size of the next largest music company in the region, European Union regulators said in March when they started an in-depth probe into the EMI deal. While the EU has blocked two mergers in the last two years, it often seeks concessions from the companies to eliminate antitrust concerns, including the sale of units.

Citigroup Inc. agreed in November to sell EMI Group’s recorded-music and publishing businesses in separate transactions. Universal will buy EMI’s record labels, home to Katy Perry and Coldplay, and a Sony Corp.-led group that includes billionaire David Geffen paid $2.2 billion for the publishing unit, according to statements in November.

The European Commission last month sent Universal the list of potential competition problems.

Details of Universal’s potential concessions were reported by the Sunday Times yesterday.

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