Already there appears to be as many as 12 bidders for the catalogs, a sign that while nothing else may be worth big money in the music business, publishing still is. These catalogs are deemed to be non-essential the Universal business, but they can still fetch a substantial price.
The interesting thing about the sale is that it probably won't help Universal where it really needs it - in Europe. The EU is looking hard at the anti-trust implications of the EMI acquisition, and a catalog sale from the other side of the pond probably would have strategically done them a little more good than in the US.
The decision on whether to let the purchase of EMI publishing by Universal should get a ruling in the next month or so, while a decision on the record label sale will be in August. To make matters worse, the California State Attorney General has also opened up an inquiry into the sale.
Here's the reality. In this climate, the purchase of EMI can only be accomplished by another major label these days because no other major corporation would touch it, so the antitrust issue will always be there. Since Universal is already the largest label, that takes the matter to another level. In the meantime, EMI sits there floundering away with little leadership or direction until the sale is consummated. I feel sorry for the poor artists still signed with them.
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