Listen Up: Sony completes EMI acquisition, creating largest music publisher

Sony Corp.’s deal to acquire EMI’s publishing assets has cleared U.S. and European regulatory hurdles and was closed Friday, the companies said.

EMI’s catalog will be merged with Sony’s to create a library of more than 2 million songs, making the combined entity the world’s largest music publisher.

The deal, announced last November, called for an investor group led by Sony to pay $2.2 billion for EMI’s rights to 1.3 million songs, including those written by David Bowie, Stevie Wonder and others.

Other investors in the Sony-led group include the Estate of Michael Jackson, Mubadala Development Co., Jynwel Capital, the Blackstone Group and David Geffen. Sony itself is a minority investor, but the company’s Sony/ATV Music Publishing division, headed by Martin Bandier, will run EMI’s publishing business.

Prior to the acquisition, Sony/ATV administered the publishing rights to 750,000 songs written by the Beatles, Lady Gaga,Taylor Swift, Bob Dylan and others.

EMI also agreed to sell its recorded music business to Universal Music Group for $1.9 billion. That transaction remains under review by U.S. and European antitrust regulators.

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