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"The undertakings are a complete and practical response to the concerns raised and they go to the heart of the issues by removing the cause of the concerns, not merely the symptoms."
—An EMI spokesperson on the concessions submitted to the EC for approval of the WMG/EMI merger.

EMI-TIME WARNER CONCESSIONS HEAD TO "MARKET"

Little Piggy Stayed Home
The European Commission has begun "market testing" new concessions offered by EMI and Time Warner in the companies' last-ditch bid to win approval for their merger.

The concessions, formally proposed on Tuesday, have been passed on to interested parties, such as firms opposed to the deal, to gauge their views on whether they solve a number of competition problems identified by the commission's report, Reuters said, citing inside sources.

"The undertakings are a complete and practical response to the concerns raised and they go to the heart of the issues by removing the cause of the concerns, not merely the symptoms," said an EMI spokesperson. "They are both innovative and aimed at enabling the parties to remove the Commission's concerns without materially harming the viability of the deal or removing the commercial rationale for the deal. In other words, we will not be trading the Spice Girls for Patrick Ewing."

"We have been given until Friday at midday to give our response to these offers, after which we suppose the commission will make up its mind," said a spokesman for one of the groups opposing the venture.

He said all recipients had been instructed not to publicize the content of EMI and Time Warner's proposals, but an industry source said the companies had proposed divesting record labels in Spain (Dro-home of the famed Barcelona rap group the Macarena Mob), Greece (Nimos-who knew Demis Roussos had so many albums?), France (Marconi-this includes the rights to all Charles Aznavour records in perpetuity)and Denmark (CMC-whoa, the W.A.S.P. catalog), as well as some music publishing interests (Virgin Songs, Nordiska, Magnet and Fazer) and distribution facilities, in a beat-the-dealine effort to pacify European regulators (hitsdailydouble.com 9/19).

They also pledged not to withdraw from performing rights societies and guaranteed they would not limit distribution of their music on the Web to AOL subscribers.

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