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    U.S. regulators clear Universal purchase of BMG Music Publishing

    bertelsmann.jpgThe Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department gave antitrust approval Tuesday to Universal Music Group's planned acquisition of BMG Music Publishing for $2.09 billion.


    The deal must now receive approval from European regulators to become final.


    BMG - owned by German media company Bertelsmann AG - owns the rights to more than a million songs by contemporary recording artists such as Nelly, Maroon 5 and Coldplay, as well as classic hits by the Beach Boys, Barry Manilow and other entertainers.

    Universal Music Group is a unit of Paris-based Vivendi SA. It's publishing arm controls the rights to songs by artists such as 50 Cent, Mary J. Blige and Chamillionaire.


    If approved, the deal would combine the No. 3 and No. 4 music publishing catalogs.


    "We were confident that the regulatory authorities would find that the acquisition did not raise competition concerns, and we appreciate that the Justice Department promptly reached the same conclusion," Universal Music Group said in a prepared statement.


    European Union regulators said earlier this month they would issue a ruling on the deal by Dec. 8.


    Unlike the recording business, which sells CDs and other products to be sold at retail, music publishers make money by licensing songs for use in movies, TV shows, CDs, video games, ringtones and other media.


    The companies also collect performance fees when songs are played on the radio or in public venues such as clubs.


    Some analysts have warned that EU regulators are likely to scrutinize the deal, in part because of an EU court ruling in July that overturned the European Commission's go-ahead for the merger that created Sony BMG Music Entertainment.


    That 2004 deal, which reduced the number of major recording companies from five to four, is being re-examined.


    Source: Various

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