Senate to Hold Antitrust Hearings on Universal-EMI Deal

From The New York Times:

Senate Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust issues will be holding hearings on the Universal Music Group’s proposed $1.9 billion takeover of EMI’s recorded-music division, which puts out work by the Beatles, the Beach Boys, Pink Floyd and many others.

The hearings could begin as early as next month, but a spokeswoman for Senator Herb Kohl, the Democrat of Wisconsin who is the chairman of the committee, said late Friday that no date had been set.

Universal’s bid for EMI is perhaps the music industry’s most significant deal of the last decade, reducing the number of major record companies from four to three. Fifteen years ago there were six major labels, but with music sales down by more than half, the industry has gone through waves of corporate consolidation.

In a statement on Friday, a Universal spokesman said: “We welcome the opportunity to answer any questions that the subcommittee may have, address the facts and debunk myths. Universal Music is committed to reinvesting in EMI to create even more opportunities for new and established artists, expand the marketplace with more music and support new digital services. We remain confident of regulatory approval.”

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