Lifestyle & Belief

EMI music unit sold to Universal Group


EMI, owner of Abbey Road Studios, made famous by the Beatles, was sold to Universal Group.


Oli Scarff

The British music mega house EMI sold its recorded music unit for $1.9 billion to Vivendi’s Universal Group, the BBC reported.

The other half of EMI’s business will go to Sony, for more than $2 billion, after being open since 1887. EMI, a staple of the United Kingdom’s music industry, has been home to artists such as the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Coldplay and Katy Perry. The London-based company also owns the infamous Abbey Road Studios and catalog of Beatles albums.

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The deal was announced Friday when EMI’s parent company Citigroup Inc. broke it apart and sold it, the Los Angeles Times reported. According to the BBC, Citigroup seized ownership of EMI in February after previous owner Terra Firma failed a solvency test.

Sony and Universal edged out rival bids from Warner Music Group and BMG Chrysalis. Amounting to $4.1 billion in total value, the deal approaches the break-even level for EMI, something many didn’t think possible, Reuters reported.

The score for Vivendi Universal Group will broaden its label holdings, which already include Capitol, Parlophone, Virgin Classics and Virgin Records, Reuters reported.

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The Guardian labeled the transaction as the final chapter in the “sad demise of a very British company.” Before EMI sold off its company, it cut its staff which once occupied three London offices to fit into just one. EMI’s most successful periods spanned from the 1960s to 1990s.

"I particularly welcome the fact that EMI will once again be owned by people who really do have music in their blood," said Rolling Stones singer Sir Mick Jagger, the BBC reported.