With U.S. antitrust authorities reviewing Universal Music Group's planned acquisition of EMI Group, one of the world's biggest music labels has hired a team of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck lobbyists who count competition policy and corporate mergers among their practices.
Brownstein last week filed a lobbying registration report with Congress to disclose that shareholders Alexander Dahl, Makan Delrahim, Allen Grunes and William Moschella are advocating for Warner Music Group Corp. subsidiary WMG Acquisition Corp.
The team is lobbying on antitrust matters, according to the paperwork. A WMG representative didn’t have an immediate comment.
Last year, the Brownstein lobbyists advocated against AT&T Inc.’s planned acquisition of T-Mobile USA Inc. on behalf of the Coalition for Mobile Wireless Competition, a group affiliated with Dish Network Corp. AT&T dropped the $39 billion deal with T-Mobile in December.
Universal Music Group parent company Vivendi SA announced in November that it inked a $1.9 billion deal with EMI to acquire the label’s recorded music division. Len Blavatnik, who owns WMG parent company Access Industries Inc., offered about $1.5 billion for the unit, but withdrew his bid, The Financial Times reported in October.
UMG, which counts Lady Gaga, Kanye West and U2 among its artists, commanded 29.9% of U.S. music sales in 2011, securing the largest market share of any record company, according to Nielsen Co. and Billboard magazine. EMI, home to artists that include the Beatles, Pink Floyd and Coldplay, had 9.6%.
WMG, which has Cee Lo Green, Death Cab for Cutie and Jason Mraz in its artist lineup, controlled 19.1%, putting it in third place behind Sony Music Entertainment Inc. SME garnered 29.3%.
Delrahim served as a deputy assistant attorney general in the U.S. Justice Department Antitrust Division during the George W. Bush Administration. Grunes was an attorney in the Division from 1995 to 2007.