The Federal Trade Commission today announced that it has given Sony/ATV Music Publishing a green light to proceed with its acquisition of EMI's music publishing business.
Still pending before the agency is a far more controversial bid by Universal Music Group to acquire EMI's music recording business.
London-based EMI was seized by Citigroup Inc. in February 2011 after its owner, a British private equity firm, was unable to meet loan obligations.
In a June 28 letter to Sony counsel Deborah Feinstein, a partner at Arnold & Porter, EMI counsel Paul Yde of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Citigroup counsel Wayne Dale Collings of Shearman & Sterling, and investment fund Mubadala counsel Elaine Johnson of Allen & Overy, the FTC said it was closing its investigation into the music publishing transaction. "Upon further review of this matter, it now appears that no further action is warranted by the Commission at this time," the FTC stated.
The commissioners voted 5 to 0 to close the investigation.
European antitrust regulators already cleared the Sony/EMI deal. The pending $1.9 billion Universal/EMI transaction, however, has been the subject of a U.S. Senate hearing and has triggered opposition from consumer groups. They say the combination would eliminate one of four major record labels and result in higher prices and undermine incipient competition.