Sony plans to sell several music catalogues worth millions of euros in royalties as it attempts to appease European regulators' concerns over its $2.2 billlion bid to buy EMI Group's publishing business, Reuters news agency said Tuesday.
EMI Group, the British music company that owns the rights to Coldplay and the Beatles, is being divided up into smaller businesses by owners Citigroup and the fragmentation has attracted interest from some of the biggest companies in the music business. However European Union (EU) regulators are investigating whether successful bids from Universal, the world's largest music company, and Sony, which boasts international artists such as Alicia Keys and Usher, will make the two overly powerful in the market.
Sony would sell several of EMI's music catalogues, which earned €15m (£12.49m) in 2011, to try and get its bid through the EU watchdogs, according to Reuters sources close to the deal. Universal Music Group asked regulators last week to extend the deadline on their probe into the company's bid for EMI's recorded-music business.
Sony is teaming up with Blackstone Group, Abu Dhabi's Mubadala Development Co., Raine Group, and billionaire David Geffen to buy EMI's music publishing business.
Reuters reports that this Sony-led group have offered to sell EMI's Virgin UK, US, and Europe catalogues in order to sweeten their bid - though they would only sell them for Europe; the Sony group would retain catalogue rights elsewhere.
EU regulators will make their decision on the Sony portion of the deal on 19 April. The EU extended its decision on whether to block the deal until 6 September at the request of both EMI and Universal.
Citigroup, a US investment bank, bought ailing EMI in early 2011 and agreed in November to sell EMI's publishing business for €2.2bn to the group.
They have faced opposition from Impala, an organisation representing the independent music companies across Europe, which claims the deal would make Sony too powerful in the European market.
Universal agreed to buy EMI's recorded music business from Citigroup for €1.9bn, but also faces the EU's regulatory hurdle.
According to the EU the deal could make Universal "almost twice the size of the next largest player" in Europe's music market and would not be "sufficiently constrained".