The long-predicted sale of Univision Music Group appears one step closer, with the parent company reportedly starting the process of auctioning off the music division.

Sources confirm to Billboard.biz that sales talks between Univision and major labels have gone on for months. A person familiar with the situation says a solicitation of bids officially moves the process forward.

Speculation over the sale of Univision's music assets intensified with the company's acquisition by private equity firms earlier this year.

According to Nielsen SoundScan, Univision Music Group - with its sub-labels Univision Records, Disa and Fonovisa - is the Latin market share leader, with 36.24% of the U.S. Latin marketplace in the first half of 2007. Univision Music Group also has urban/tropical label La Calle as well as a publishing division.

Univision Communications did not respond to a request for confirmation of the auction by Billboard.biz. But Univision Music Group president/CEO Jose Behar told Billboard in April that if the music group is acquired, there would not be any "cherry-picking," or piecemeal selling of the group's holdings.

Spokespersons for reported bidders EMI, Sony BMG, Warner and Universal declined to speak on the record about the auction.