BRUSSELS — Universal Music Group won approval Friday from American and European regulators to buy the famed British music company EMI, including the hugely lucrative Beatles catalogue. The deal will extend its lead as the world’s largest producer of recorded music.
But the EU imposed stringent restrictions and is forcing Universal to sell some of EMI’s biggest acts, including Coldplay, David Guetta and Pink Floyd.
The concessions were a bitter pill for Universal, which will pay $1.9 billion for the entire package. It will then have to turn around and sell the rights to many of the artists it acquired. It will hold an auction, hoping to raise hundreds of millions of dollars in a process expected to take another six to nine months to complete. Already 22 bidders have lined up to buy those assets, including the No. 2 and No. 3 music groups, Sony Music and Warner Music Group, according to a person familiar with the matter who declined to be identified.