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VIVENDI, SEAGRAM ATTEMPT TO APPEASE EURO OFFICIALS

So Far, Offers Of Liquor And Whores Keeping The Companies Very Popular With The EC
Perhaps reacting to the focused scrutiny surrounding the proposed America Online-Time Warner and WMG-EMI mergers, Vivendi, Seagram and Canal Plus told European regulators that they wouldn't discriminate against competing music companies and cellular network operators, in an obvious attempt to squash antitrust concerns regarding their $34 billion merger.

The European Commission's antitrust department, which began investigating the transaction in August, is set to decide by Oct. 13 whether to clear the deal or subject it to an extra four months of scrutiny, reports the Wall Street Journal. The regulatory body's deadline has already been pushed back from Oct. 2 (hitsdailydouble.com, 9/25)

Competitors are wary of the combined entity's potential to dominate the distribution of music via the Internet. One source close to the companies said concession proposals include a promise of non-discriminatory access for competitors, according to the paper. The companies themselves remain hopeful about an expedited approval, but some competitors are not so sure. Independent record companies complained to the commission earlier this month that Vivendi Universal would have a near-monopoly in the nascent market for distributing music via mobile Internet.

A person close to the companies said the EC's review of the AOL-TW merger could have an impact on the way the Vivendi-Seagram deal is handled.

If objections are raised, the closing of the deal could be moved from the November target date to some time in the first quarter of next year.

HITS LIST: AMPERSANDS
Dynamic duos (12/3a)
TAYLOR'S TREMENDOUS YEAR
She'd make one helluva CEO. (12/3a)
THEY CALL THE WINDFALL MARIAH (HOLIDAY EDITION)
Ch-chingle bells (12/3a)
SONG REVENUE:
BOWS OF HOLLY
Adele is money. (12/3a)
UTA MUSIC EXPANDS IN NASHVILLE
Reshuffling the deck (12/3a)
CHESTNUTS
Roasting.
STOCKINGS
Stuffing.
PIPERS
Piping.
SANTA
Coming.
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