California Attorney General Kamala Harris is making legal inquiries about the planned sale of EMI, according to two sources cited by Bloomberg. The sale of the company's recorded-music operation to Universal Music and its publishing to a Sony-led investor group has been under intense scrutiny since it was announced in November.
The attorney general's office has been in contact with people and companies likely to be affected by the deal with regard to pricing and possible antitrust issues, the report said. Representatives for Harris, Universal and Sony/ATV declined comment.
On Monday and Tuesday (March 27) reports emerged that Universal and Sony/ATV have made moves toward regulatory approval. Universal is planning to sell three of its music-publishing catalogs to help finance its acquisition of EMI's recorded-music division and to lighten its holdings, sources confirmed to Billboard.biz; and Sony-led investors offered unspecified concessions to the European Union in an effort to get approval for its deal. Ã¢Â€Â¨
The European Commission's investigation into the deal has entered enter a secondary, more in-depth phase, it was confirmed on Friday. Universal formally requested EU regulators' approval of the sale in February. Ã¢Â€Â¨
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."