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EUROPEAN UNION POSTPONES WARNER/EMI MUSIC DECISION
Trade Org Puts Off Merger Ruling Until October
Warner Music Group and EMI Music will have to wait a little longer before they consummate their romance.

According to high-ranking sources, the European Union has postponed its decision on the merger of Time Warner's music unit and EMI, originally expected this month, until October. The European Commission, which acts as the antitrust watchdog for the EU, will decide by June 19 if it will approve AOL's $146 billion buyout of Time Warner. EMI shareholders had received notification earlier this week of a special general meeting in London on June 16 at which they'll be asked to approve the merger.

Under EU competition rules, the Commission has an initial four-week period to review mergers and acquisitions, and if it believes problems remain after that period, it can extend its probe by four months.

A group representing Scandanavian pop and classical composers earlier this week filed a formal objection with the Commission over the WMG/EMI Music deal, saying the new group would control about half of all music publishing in Sweden and 70% in Finland. The companies themselves calculated they will control about 25% of the world recorded music market and 97% of the expense account lunches taken by industry execs globally. The original deadline for the Commission to decide whether to clear the joint venture or send it for an extended four-month probe was June 14, but it sure looks like the leaves will be turning before a final decision is made.

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