Bids coming in between $1.5 - $2 million.

Vivendi's Universal Music has made a bid of close to $2 billion in the auction of Bertelsmann AG's music publishing arm, the Financial Times said on Friday (July 21), citing two people familiar with the situation.

The world's largest music company made it through to the second round, along with Warner Music and also private equity group BC Partners, with bids coming in between $1.5 million and $2 million, the newspaper said.

German media conglomerate Bertelsmann said on Tuesday strategic and financial bidders would participate in a second round of bidding for BMG Music Publishing that begins this week.

Fifteen prospective buyers have been sent information about BMG Music Publishing, which owns thousands of copyrights to songs by Coldplay, Nelly and other artists. Analysts expected BMG Music Publishing to fetch at least 1.5 billion euros.

Companies left out included broadcaster Viacom and financial sponsors including Permira, the FT said, while a proposed management buy-out led by BMG Music Publishing's Chief Executive Nicholas Firth, also failed to progress.

Universal Music is seen as a front-runner in the bidding for BMG Music Publishing because of the potential cost savings from merging BMG's operations with its own. Universal is the world's largest record company but smaller than some of its rivals in publishing.

EMI Group is working with private equity group KRR on a plan to provide services to BMG Music Publishing, the FT also said.