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UMG to sell off non-core catalogs

SCHLAGER, ANYONE? Back in November, UMG said it would put certain non-strategic assets on the block to help fund the EMI transaction. The word now coming out of Universal is that the assets being put up for sale include the following catalogs: Classical, Brentwood Benson (Christian/gospel) and Koch Music (Germany based; traditional schlager music), collectively comprising north of 200k copyrights. The ancillary benefit is that these divestitures will also help with regulators, obviously. According to Universal, additional disposals will likely include some non-central real estate holdings in Europe, specifically, buildings being leased by other companies, acquired over the years through various mergers. Auction books are going out this week to more than a dozen prospective bidders who've already expressed interest, including BMG Rights Management, Imagem and several private-equity firms. (3/27a)

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