EMI Music has acquired Loudclothing.com, Europe's largest independent music merchandise distributor, from Completely Independent Distribution (CID). Terms were not disclosed.

The U.K. company will now operate as part of EMI's global merchandise unit, established in April 2009 when the major began working with Live Nation and AEG Live as one of their retail distributors of their music merchandise.

Loudclothing.com and CID founder Nic Wastell will lead EMI's European merchandise operations as VP merchandising - Europe, reporting to Peter Palmer, EMI Music's SVP of global merchandising. EMI is taking 18 employees from Loudclothing.com, increasing the total number of staff in EMI's merchandise division to 23, covering product development, consumer marketing and artist liaison services such as royalty reporting.

Wastell will continue to run Leicester-based CID, which will now handle the distribution of EMI's entire merchandise range across Europe.

"Expanding our merchandise capability is a key part of EMI Music's strategy of providing artists and labels with a range of services that deliver real value," said Ronn Werre, global president of EMI Music Services and EMI Music's COO for North America & Mexico, in a statement. "Combining the great team and assets of Loudclothing.com with rights from Live Nation and AEG Live gives EMI a stellar product range and a world class, full-service retail merchandise business that delivers first rate services to consumers, retailers and our artist and business partners."

Nic Wastell added: "We're very excited to be joining Peter Palmer and his team at EMI. They have successfully built a strong merchandise operation within a major music company, a textbook case of how to develop and scale up this capability alongside other music services. With this new partnership we have created a competitive new player in this important market and have the finance and resources to grow and develop our business."

Peter Palmer joined EMI Music earlier this year from merchandise company Bravado, which was acquired by Universal Music in June 2008. "Our new partners are looking for global retail reach and excellent customer relationships," said Palmer in the statement. "Our customers want EMI to deliver new products and ideas to drive additional profitable revenue and EMI Music's sales teams around the world are best placed to deliver this capability."

EMI is now selling music merchandise to physical and online retailers around the world, including over 2,000 stores in North America, over 1,000 in both Europe and Latin America as well as to outlets in Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

The major's merchandising operation has products for over 200 artists, with merchandising from Loudclothing.com's extensive product range now added to merchandising from EMI, Live Nation and AEG Live. Artists include Bon Jovi, David Bowie, the Clash, Coldplay, Depeche Mode, Linkin Park, Kylie Minogue, Oasis, Pink Floyd, Queen and Slayer.

EMI is also distributing merchandise from other entertainment rights holders, such as NECA in the U.K., which covers merchandise for films including "Watchmen" and the "Twilight" series.

EMI's merchandising division is part of EMI Music Services, which links in to its global retail sales network and teams in 32 countries.