Nov.11 - Vivendi's Universal Music unit says it plans to buy British rival EMI Group's recorded music business from Citigroup in a $1.9 billion deal while EMI's publishing operation is expected to be bought by a Sony-led consortium for $2.2 billion. Matt Cowan reports.
Abbey Road Studios, made famous by the Beatles, looks set to come under new ownership as part of a 1.9 billion dollar deal that would see Universal Music acquire the recorded music business of EMI Group. Universal's parent company Vivendi announced it had agreed to buy the music business from Citigroup. If cleared, EMI's stable of artists including the likes of Coldplay and Katy Perry would join the world's largest music group. Ted Cohen if a former Vice President of Digital Distribution at EMI. SOUNDBITE: Ted Cohen, former EMI Vice President of Digital Distribution saying (English): "There was a lot of duplication of efforts. It's not a good thing for anybody because when this happens jobs will be lost, lives will change but as we move to a digital world which is what I've been focussed on the last 20 years, it's an eventuality of economies of scale that you do it better in a leaner fashion." Pete Hutchison runs the London based independent label Peacefrog Records. SOUNDBITE: Pete Hutchison, Peacefrog Records saying (English): "I hope that EMI continues in the shape and form it's in now because they're a good company. We use them for our distribution. Really good people. As long as it carries on, it's a good thing." Meanwhile two people familiar with the matter said a consortium led by Sony is expected to buy EMI's publishing operation for $2.2 billion. This means EMI owner Citigroup Inc will reap a better-than-expected $4.1 billion from the two deals. The financial conglomerate had helped to finance an ill-fated acquisition of the British music group by Guy Hands' private equity firm Terra Firma, and won control of EMI in February. Universal Music's CEO Lucian Grainge promised to replenish and rebuild EMI's rosters. Mick Jagger, whose Rolling Stones left EMI for Universal in 2008, welcomed the deal saying he particularly welcomes the fact that EMI will once again be run by people who really do have music in their blood." Matt Cowan, Reuters.