Following months of protracted negotiations, Universal Music Group has announced a definitive agreement to acquire Univision Music Group. The deal will include Univision's music recording and publishing division. The acquisition, which is subject to regulatory approvals, will make Universal Music the dominating company -- by far -- in the U.S. Latin marketplace.

Jesús López, Universal's current chairman and CEO of Latin America and Iberian Peninsula will head the joint labels. Further management announcements are expected in the coming days.

Univision Music Group, which includes Univision Records, Fonovisa Records, Disa Records and La Calle, is already the No. 1 selling Latin label in the United States, with nearly 40% of the Latin music marketshare, according to Nielsen Soundscan's year-end numbers for 2007. In turn, Universal's Latin labels -- Universal Music Latino and Machete -- have an 8.83% and 5.26% marketshare, respectively, according to Nielsen Soundscan. Their combined numbers will have Universal controlling half of the Latin music landscape in the United States. Univision's holdings also include Univision Music Mexico and Univision Music Publishing.

As part of the acquisition, UMG will continue Univision Music's longstanding agreement with the Univision TV networks, which will allow UMG to promote its artists on the Univision, Telefutura and Galavision networks.

Univision Music Group was founded in 2001 by José Behar, the former head of EMI Latin. Behar started the label from scratch and turned it into the leading U.S. Latin label following its acquisition of indie Fonovisa. Today, Univision's roster includes top selling acts such as Marco Antonio Solis, Los Tigres del Norte and Los Temerarios. Although a large bulk of the music group's catalog falls under regional Mexican music, Behar made a concerted effort to diversify his roster, recently bringing in artists like Ivy Queen and Olga Tañón and developing names like Xtreme and Jennifer Pena.

Univision's marriage with Universal will unify Univision's strong regional Mexican roster with a major roster of pop and reggaeton acts currently signed to Universal and Machete, including Juanes, Enrique Iglesias, Paulina Rubio and Wisin & Yandel.

Universal's Latin operations worldwide are headed by Jesus Lopez, chairman/CEO for Latin America, Iberian Peninsula.

Univision Music Group has been for sale since last year, with rumors swirling about possible buyers. Since late 2007, Universal, whose distributing company has distributed Univision's product since the onset, appeared to be the clear frontrunner. Sources close to the negotiations have said since December that a final agreement to acquire the company was imminent. The deal was signed Feb. 28.

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