Warner Music, EMI Music Merger Off
LONDON (AP) _ EMI Group and Time Warner on Thursday called off the planned merger between their music subsidiaries, but said they would continue talks on some kind of joint venture.
The decision came in the face of European Commission opposition to the $20 billion combination between EMI Music and Warner Music Group, which would reduce the number of major music companies from five to four.
The companies said they would continue discussions in hope of finding a combination acceptable to regulators.
``The withdrawal of our application allows additional time to reassess regulators’ concerns and to pursue solutions simultaneously in Europe and the U.S.,″ said Eric Nicoli, chairman of EMI.
``We have been, and will continue to be, flexible in responding to the European Commission’s concerns,″ he said. ``However any concessions that are ultimately made must be consistent with our shareholder value objectives.″
The EC has previously signaled that Warner Music’s venture with EMI, whose roster includes The Beatles, The Spice Girls and Garth Brooks, could harm fair competition in sales of recorded music, music publication and the digital delivery of music.
A panel of European antitrust regulators normally makes its decision shortly before the entire 20-member European Commission votes. A final decision on the music merger had been due by Oct. 18, just ahead of the Oct. 24 deadline for an EU recommendation on the much larger AOL-Time Warner combination is Oct. 24.