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"This sale ... demonstrates the value we have been able to unlock through the targeted divestment of quality assets."
—--UMGI chief
Max Hole

NOW THAT'S WHAT
WE CALL DIVESTMENT!

Purchase of Euro rights to NOW by Sony Marks Completion of Merger-Mandated Unloading, According to Reports
Universal Music Group confirms it has found a buyer for the last asset it must divest as a condition of its EMI acquisition, the European rights to the hugely successful compilation series NOW That's What I Call Music, which Sony has scooped up; various sources put the cost of the sale at around £40 million (approximately $60.65m).

UMG International Chairman/CEO Max Hole made the announcement. "This sale, along with our previous transactions, not only satisfies our agreement with the European Commission, but further demonstrates the value we have been able to unlock through the targeted divestment of quality assets," reads his statement. "Moreover, we are pleased to partner with Sony, a company that recognizes the cultural importance of this long-standing British institution."

The institution in question is the U.K.'s longest-selling branded comp series, selling more than 200 million albums worldwide since its European bow in 1983.

Added Sony International Chairman/CEO Edgar Berger, "NOW is one of the most famous and successful brands in music. We are delighted to have acquired EMI's interests in the NOW brand in Europe and will work with Universal Music and our other partners across the industry to build the next chapter in NOW's history."

To commemorate the pact, the two chief executives then regaled the crowd with karaoke versions of today's biggest hits.

One source relates that bidding was fierce for NOW, with interest from such familiar divestment suitors as WMG, the Fuller-Blackwell team and BMG Rights Management, and that the in the final stretch the field narrowed to Sony and WMG.

The announcement follows news that the penultimate asset to be sold, European indie distribution/services outfit Co-Operative Music (aka The Co-Op), was purchased by PIAS Recordings for about £500,000 ($758k). While several entities pursued The Co-Op, sources say, PIAS proved too aggressive for the rest of the field.

These deals, of course, follow the recent sale of Mute and Sanctuary to BMG and WMG's acquisition of the biggest chunk, Parlophone Label Group.

"UMG has successfully closed the EMI acquisition and sold the Brussels-mandated remedies at excellent conditions," reads a statement from Vivendi CEO Jean-Francois Dubos, cited in MusicWeek. Dubos added that factoring in costs of restructuring and "synergies," "the acquisition will prove extremely beneficial, leaving aside the strategic benefits of being the undisputed leader in this industry."

The EU Commission is expected to sign off on the deal within four to six weeks; the last of the divestment arrangements has occurred well ahead of the Commission's late-March deadline.

NEAR TRUTHS:
THE HOUSE WINS
I.B. Bad handicaps the Vegas Grammys. (1/18a)
ON THE COVER:
THE LUMINEERS
The downside of BRIGHTSIDE for Wes and Jer (1/18a)
HITS LIST MAKES
THE PLAYOFFS
A bunch of All-Pros takes the field. (1/18a)
COACHELLA LINEUP: HARRY, YE, BILLIE AND THE WHOLE THING
The poster has been printed. (1/13a)
UTA: A YEAR OF MOMENTUM
Agency reshuffles the deck. (1/18a)
I DON'T WANNA WORK
I just wanna bang on my drum all day.
I HAVE A HANGOVER
I like to call it "2021."
I DON'T WANNA HAVE A MEETING
My Zoom backgrounds are all outdated.
I MISS CHRISTMAS
When's the next holiday that involves eggnog?
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