Universal Music Group has won the qualified support of two North American artists’ unions for its proposed $1.9 billion acquisition of the recorded music division of the U.K.’s EMI Group Ltd.
The unions gave their conditional backing in letters sent last week to the Federal Trade Commission.
In their letters, SAG-AFTRA and the American Federation of Musicians said they would support the deal if there were adequate mechanisms to ensure that Universal complies with its commitment to re-invest in artist development.
EMI is home to the recorded music of The Beatles, as well as American artists such as Norah Jones and The Smashing Pumpkins. Universal artists include Rihanna, Lady Gaga and U2.
“It has been wrenching to watch EMI wither” as its former private equity owner Terra Firma cut costs, wrote Kim Roberts Hedgpeth, SAG-AFTRA’s co-national executive director. She urged regulators to examine Universal’s commitments to artist development.
“Should the commission be satisfied that there are adequate mechanisms to ensure compliance with those commitments, we respectfully request that it look favorably on Universal Music Group’s stewardship over EMI,” she wrote.
Universal said in a statement it was “delighted” that the unions took a positive view of its plans.