Reports: Universal may sell Coldplay label to push through EMI merger

Universal Music is in talks to sell off most of Parlophone, the home of acts including Coldplay, Kylie Minogue and Tinie Tempah, in order to allay concerns the European regulator has over its £1.2bn bid for EMI, reports the Guardian and other sources this week. The potential sell-off of Parlophone, which would not include the Beatles’ catalogue, has been submitted by the world’s biggest music company as part of a package of remedies to the European Commission.

It is understood that BMG, the music publishing joint venture between Bertelsmann and KKR which missed buying EMI’s publishing division, has held talks with Universal to potentially acquire Parlophone. One source with knowledge of the situation said that any potential sale of Parlophone, one of EMI’s most famous labels, would include Universal “cherry picking” key artists to keep such as the Beatles and, potentially, Coldplay.

Founded over 100 years ago, Parlophone was a leading jazz label in the 1920s. Sir George Martin joined as assistant label manager in the 50s, signing Cilla Black, Peter Sellers – and the Beatles. Other artists added to the label roster through the years are Duran Duran, Pet Shop Boys, Blur and Lily Allen. The European Commission, which rejected Universal’s first offer of label sell-offs for not addressing competition concerns, will put Universal’s sweetened offer to the music industry over the course of next week to gauge reponse.

Universal originally offered to sell off labels including Virgin, which has attracted interest from Sir Richard Branson, Sanctuary, Mute – home to Nick Cave and Moby, and Co-Op. The European Commission rejected the package, which sources say was worth about €250m, as not addressing issues over the combined group’s dominance in the CD and digital music market. “The first offer just wasn’t good enough and they have bitten the bullet,” said one source. “It looks like they are offering a package of about €400m, half of EMI Europe at €800m, which would see them give up roughly 5% market share in Europe”.

If this is the case it would bring the combined group under 40% of the European market, the limit that has concerned regulators. “Universal Music Group has submitted a package of remedies to the European Commission relating to its proposed acquisition of EMI Recorded Music,” said a spokesman for Universal. “We believe the package fully addresses the Commission’s concerns and follows our constructive discussions with regulators, independent labels and competitors. We look forward to working further with the Commission and are confident of receiving clearance.”

If the sale of Parlophone is accepted by the European Commission then Universal would not have to sell off some of the other labels it had considered, such as Virgin and Chrysalis. Joaquin Almunia, the EU’s competition commissioner, has described the talks as “tough”.

Universal has submitted a list of 21 potential buyers for its assets, according to a report published by Billboard. The music giant is under immense pressure as it has guaranteed to pay EMI’s owner Citibank the entire £1.2bn by the middle of September regardless of whether the deal goes through. Universal, which is owned by Vivendi, has been given until the end of November to push the deal through. [Article ends]

New photos of Coldplay performing at TD Garden, Boston, MA (29-30 July 2012):

Photos courtesy of TD Garden @ Facebook (click for more!)

Don’t forget to check out your tour discussion thread if you are getting Coldplay tickets or just getting excited for the European & North American 2012 shows and other forthcoming appearances:

8 Los Angeles, CA @ Club Nokia (iHeartRadio) [discussion]
9 Los Angeles, CA @ Jimmy Kimmel Live [discussion]
10 Los Angeles, CA @ GRAMMY Week MusiCares Person of the Year tribute [discussion]
12 Los Angeles, CA @ 54th Grammy Awards, Staples Center [discussion]
16 Sydney, Australia @ 2DayFM, Mobile Live Set (intimate show) [discussion] [CANCELLED]
17 Sydney, Australia @ Sunrise (intimate show) [discussion] [CANCELLED]
21 London @ Brit Awards 2012, O2 Arena [discussion]

MARCH 2012
2 New York, NY @ Good Morning America [discussion]
4 New York, NY @ The Secret Policeman’s Ball, Radio City Music Hall (Amnesty International) [discussion]

APRIL 2012
17 Edmonton, AB @ Rexall Place [discussion]
18 Calgary, AB @ Scotiabank Saddledome [discussion]
20 Vancouver, BC @ Rogers Arena [discussion]
21 Vancouver, BC @ Rogers Arena [discussion]
24 Portland, OR @ Rose Garden Arena [discussion]
25 Seattle, WA @ KeyArena [discussion]
27 San Jose, CA @ HP Pavilion At San Jose [discussion]
28 San Jose, CA @ HP Pavilion At San Jose [discussion]

MAY 2012
1 Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Bowl [discussion]
2 Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Bowl [discussion]
3 Los Angeles, CA @ American Idol show [discussion] [NEW!]
4 Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Bowl [discussion]
5 Los Angeles, CA @ KROQ’s Weenie Roast y Fiesta [discussion] [NEW!]
18 Porto, Portugal @ Dragao Stadium [discussion]
20 Madrid, Spain @ Estadio Vicente Calderón [discussion]
22 Nice, France @ Stade Charles Herman / Nikaia [discussion]
24 Turin, Italy @ Olympic Stadium [discussion]
26 Zurich, Switzerland @ Letzigrund [discussion]
29 Coventry, UK @ Ricoh Stadium [discussion]

JUNE 2012
1 London, UK @ the Emirates Stadium [discussion]
2 London, UK @ the Emirates Stadium [discussion]
4 London, UK @ the Emirates Stadium [discussion]
7 Sunderland, UK @ the Stadium of Light [discussion]
9 London, UK @ Wembley Stadium (Capital FM’s Summertime Ball 2012) [discussion] [NEW!]
9 Manchester, UK @ the Etihad Stadium [discussion]
10 Manchester, UK @ the Etihad Stadium [discussion]
22 Dallas, TX @ American Airlines Center [discussion]
23 Dallas, TX @ American Airlines Center [discussion]
25 Houston, TX @ Toyota Center [discussion]
26 Houston, TX @ Toyota Center [discussion]
28 Tampa, FL @ St. Pete Times Forum [discussion]
29 Miami, FL @ American Airlines Arena [discussion]

JULY 2012
2 Atlanta, GA @ Philips Arena [discussion]
3 Charlotte, NC @ Time Warner Cable Arena [discussion]
5 Philadelphia, PA @ Wells Fargo Center [discussion]
6 Philadelphia, PA @ Wells Fargo Center [discussion]
8 Washington, DC @ Verizon Center [discussion]
9 Washington, DC @ Verizon Center [discussion]
23 Toronto, ON @ Air Canada Centre [discussion]
24 Toronto, ON @ Air Canada Centre [discussion]
26 Montreal, QC @ Bell Centre [discussion]
27 Montreal, QC @ Bell Centre [discussion]
29 Boston, MA @ TD Garden [discussion]
30 Boston, MA @ TD Garden [discussion]

1 Auburn Hills, MI @ Palace of Auburn Hills [discussion]
3 East Rutherford, NJ @ Izod Center [discussion]
4 East Rutherford, NJ @ Izod Center [discussion]
7 Chicago, IL @ United Center [discussion]
8 Chicago, IL @ United Center [discussion]
10 St. Paul, MN @ Xcel Energy Center [discussion]
11 St. Paul, MN @ Xcel Energy Center [discussion]
28 Copenhagen, Denmark @ Parken Stadium [discussion]
30 Stockholm, Sweden @ Olympic Stadium [discussion]

2 Paris, France @ Stade de France [discussion]
4 Cologne, Germany @ Rheinenergie Stadium [discussion]
6 The Hague, Netherlands @ Malieveld [discussion]
9 London, UK @ Paralympics Closing Ceremony [discussion]
12 Munich, Germany @ Olympiastadion [discussion]
14 Leipzig, Germany @ Red Bull Stadium [discussion]
16 Prague, Czech Republic @ Slavia Eden Stadium [discussion]
19 Warsaw, Poland @ National Stadium [discussion]
22 Hannover, Germany @ AWD Arena [discussion]

10 Auckland, New Zealand @ Mt Smart Stadium [discussion]
13 Melbourne, Australia @ Etihad Stadium [discussion]
17 Sydney, Australia @ Allianz Stadium [discussion]
18 Sydney, Australia @ Allianz Stadium [discussion] [NEW!]
21 Brisbane, Australia @ Suncorp Stadium [discussion]

Read also: European Stadium Tour announced! (general discussion thread for the Europe tour)
Read also: North America Tour announced! (general discussion thread for the US/Canada tour)
Read also: 2012: Live Appearances – Easy Thread Finder (last updated – 12th January 2012)
Read also: 2012 tour date rumours (please post dates for ALL countries in here)

Kit yourself up for the forthcoming MX tour and get spotted with Coldplaying’s new range of merchandise! [click on the items for the full shop]

The new range of Coldplaying merchanise (unofficial of course to the official shop) has hit our stores, with our biggest range of goods so far. Prices are as low as they can be for a Cafepress shop so more people will be able to afford them. We don’t take any profits for the sale of the merchandise as a result. Take a browse in one of the online stores nearest to you: UK | US | Canada | Australia | European (shipping is worldwide, but you can choose what currency to pay in) – simply alter the country dropdown menu at the top of the shop page. [thanks to TracieMorgan and zzz]