A consortium led by Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) has received US Federal Trade Commission approval to acquire the music publishing arm of EMI from Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C). Citigroup acquired the business following the default on borrowings by private equity firm Terra Firm, and the Sony-led group paid $2.2 for the publishing business. Universal Music, a division of Vivendi, will pay $1.9 million for EMI’s recorded music catalog.
Sony and its partners — the sovereign wealth fund of Abu Dhabi, Jynwel Capital of Hong Kong, a subsidiary of The Blackstone Group LP (NYSE: BX), and David Geffen — are expected to close the deal later today. The group will own publishing rights to 1.3 million songs, including “Over the Rainbow” and “New York, New York” among many more recent songs by Amy Whitehouse, Alicia Keys, Kanye West, and Adele. The group now becomes the world’s largest music publishing house, ahead of Universal Music and Warner Music.
Universal Music’s acquisition of EMI’s recorded music is still under scrutiny by US and European regulators. If that deal goes through, Universal will own albums by the Beatles, the Beach Boys, and hundreds of other performers.
Sony’s shares are trading up 3.7% at $14.23 today, in a 52-week range of $12.63-$27.32.