Merger creates music publishing giant


Music publisher Universal is to be merged with BMG Music Publishing to create a company which will control one quarter of the world's music market.

The deal, announced earlier today, was made between the two subsidiaries' owners, French media and telecoms group Vivendi and Bertelsmann of Germany.

Universal is set to pay €1.63 billion (£1.1 billion) to acquire BMG from Bertelsman, which will use the money to pay off existing debts.

The merger will see Vivendi's Universal combined with the German conglomerate's major portfolio of world famous artists, including Coldplay, Keane, Robbie Williams and Justin Timberlake.

When added to Universal's existing artists, which include Mariah Carey, Elton John, 50 Cent and the Beach Boys, the publisher will overtake its main rival EMI to become the world's largest.

Music publishers make their money by selling the rights to record companies and other media firms to use and promote their artists' material.

But the merger is by no means guaranteed – European regulators may block the deal from taking place as they did with last year's proposed merger between Sony Entertainment and BMG.

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