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News > International
EMI ready to bend to EU
September 15, 2000: 7:32 a.m. ET

UK music firm may give ground to salvage $20B deal with Time Warner
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LONDON (CNNfn) - EMI Group PLC said Friday it's looking to find a settlement with European Commission regulators, amid reports that Europe's antitrust body is set to block the British music publisher's planned $20 billion joint venture with Time Warner Inc.

"There are ongoing discussions with the [EU's] Merger Task Force over a settlement," said Amanda Conroy, a spokesperson with EMI, but she declined to comment further.

EMI's comments come a day after the Financial Times reported EC officials were ready to send to member governments a draft of their decision that the merger should be blocked. The FT said unless the two companies offered "significant" concessions, the EU would block the deal.

Amelia Torres, a spokesperson for Mario Monti, head of the EC's antitrust unit, denied that the document leaked to the FT was a draft decision, saying it was "merely an internal document at this stage. Monti hasn't taken a decision and he has no position on it."

Monti is scheduled to meet with EMI executives Monday, she said.

The EC has already expressed concern the deal, which would reduce the big five global music companies to four, could harm competition. At the EC's daily briefing Friday, Torres reiterated the panel's concern that it "could be bad for artists and consumers" by reducing competitive choice for CDs.

EMI and Warner Music Group face an official deadline of next Tuesday to reach a compromise with the commission, the executive arm of the EU. After that, the commission has until Oct. 18 to rule on whether to let the tie-up proceed.

EMI shares (EMI) were down 0.4 percent early Friday afternoon in London, after jumping 9.1 percent Thursday on expectations the company was poised to offer concessions. On the New York Stock Exchange, Time Warner (TWX: Research, Estimates), the parent of CNN and CNNfn, fell 75 cents at $80.94 on the New York Stock Exchange Thursday.   Back to top

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