In a move to assuage the European Commission's merger concerns, a raft of assets could be offloaded as part of Universal Music's acquisition of Bertelsmann's BMG Music Publishing, industry sources have revealed.

BMG Music Publishing arms Zomba Publishing, 19 Songs and 19 Music - units of Simon Fuller's 19 Entertainment - could be spun off from the newly-enlarged group, sources say. The Commission is due to rule on Universal's €1.55 billion ($2.05 billion) bid for BMG Music Publishing by June 1.

Vivendi, Universal Music's parent, suggested offloading parts of its catalog after the Commission indicated that the merged entity might hold an overly powerful position in the music publishing space.

The Commission, the European Union's antitrust authority, has already begun market testing the planned proposal, and will shortly send questionnaires to rivals and customers about their likely responses.

BMG and Universal each have about 10% of the market and have the world's world's third and fourth biggest music publishing catalogs, respectively. If approved, they will have a 22% combined market share, about two points more than the market leader, EMI."

EU clearance is the last regulatory hurdle for the takeover, which was cleared in November in the United States by the Federal Trade Commission. Commission officials say their investigation is concentrating on whether cutting the number of major publishers would push down fees for publishing rights or hurt conditions for European song writers.

Vivendi beat off rivals EMI Group and Warner Music Group last September to purchase BMG Music Publishing, whose archive of more than a million songs by the likes of Coldplay, Britney Spears and Robbie Williams. BMG Music Publishing's catalog includes works by U2 and Elton John.