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Vivendi Committed to EMI

VIVENDI NOT SELLING UMG: Now that Vivendi owns both UMG and EMI, the French telecom and entertainment group is committed to “breathing new life” into its music holdings, according to a Financial Times report over the weekend. “We haven’t grown Universal Music with two major transactions [its takeover of Bertelsmann’s music publishing division in 2006 and the EMI bid] just to spin it off,” insisted Vivendi chief executive Jean-Bernard Lévy. Universal would raise EMI’s spending on new acts while making at least 100m in annual savings from the combination, added UMG chief Lucian Grainge. “We’re not bankers; we’re not private equity. Music runs through our veins,” added Levy, who insisted they would seek to strengthen EMI labels such as Parlophone and Capitol Records. Both Levy and Grainge are confident the deal will get regulatory approval in the U.S. and Europe, despite the opposite of indie label trade org IMPALA. Vivendi said it would sell 500m of non-core Universal assets to stay within its triple-B credit rating, but Lévy insisted the disposals could yield more than that sum.  “We are determined to stay at the same time a content and a platform company,” he added. “It is a good differentiator.” (11/14a)

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