Universal to Sell Music-Publishing Catalogs Worth $200 Million as Part of EMI Purchase

Universal Music Group is planning to sell three of its music-publishing catalogs to help finance its acquisition of EMI's recorded-music division, a source told Billboard.biz. The news was first reported the Financial Times.

Universal has brought in Bank of America Merrill Lynch to sell its classical catalog, along with a Christian (Brentwood Benson) and German schlager (Koch) catalog, a sale that could bring in $200 million, a source told FT. The company also plans to sell real estate holdings in France and Germany that are leased to other companies.

FT reported that 12 parties are interested 12 parties, including US and European private equity firms, and BMG Rights Management, adding that Imagem Music "is likely to be interested."

The European Commission's investigation into Universal's proposed acquisition of EMI's recorded-music division is to enter a secondary, more in-depth phase, it was confirmed on Friday. Universal formally requested EU regulators' approval of the sale in February.

Opposition to the sale has been fierce since it was first announced in November, with the independent coalition IMPALA and others being particularly vocal in their insistence that Universal's holdings would create insurmountable "competition problems."

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