Having disposed of Parlophone and EMI Classics in a deal with Warner, Universal Music have now offloaded the compilation album business – as required by EU regulators – to arch-rivals Sony. Now That’s What I Call Music! is a UK/Ireland series of compilation albums. Here’s the release:
UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP (UMG) TO SELL
EMI’S EUROPEAN STAKE IN NOW That’s What I Call Music!
TO SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT
London, England & New York, NY, Wednesday, February 27, 2013–Universal Music Group (UMG), the world’s leading music company, today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell EMI Recorded Music’s European rights in NOW That’s What I Call Music! to Sony Music Entertainment, subject to regulatory approval. Financial details were not disclosed. UMG retains its pre-existing rights to the highly successful compilation series in Europe and acquires EMI Recorded Music’s rights outside of Europe. The announcement was made today by Max Hole, Chairman & CEO of Universal Music Group International, and Edgar Berger, President & CEO, International, Sony Music Entertainment. This sale follows the approval of UMG’s acquisition of EMI Recorded Music by the European Commission in September 2012, and marks the last of the mandated assets to be divested.
“This sale, along with our previous transactions, not only satisfies our agreement with the European Commission, but further demonstrates the value we have been able to unlock through the targeted divestment of quality assets,” stated Mr. Hole. “Moreover, we are pleased to partner with Sony, a company that recognizes the cultural importance of this long-standing British institution.”
Sony’s Edgar Berger said, “NOW is one of the most famous and successful brands in music. We are delighted to have acquired EMI’s interests in the NOW brand in Europe and will work with Universal Music and our other partners across the industry to build the next chapter in NOW’s history.”
With over two decades of multi-platinum international success, the NOW That’s What I Call Music! series debuted in Europe in 1983. The series has since generated sales exceeding 200 million albums worldwide, including more than 84 million copies in the UK. It remains the longest selling branded compilation album in the UK.