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US green-lights Sony BMG merger

Implementation starts Monday

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The US Federal Trade Commission has given the thumbs-up to the proposed merger between Sony Music Entertainment (SME) and Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG).

The FTC ruling comes a week after the European Commission approved the deal, which will create a company controlling a quarter of the global recorded music market.

Sony BMG - as the new company is to be called - will account for just over 25 per cent of the market, just below current market leader Universal, which also owns just over a quarter of the business. Together, independent labels account for a further 25 per cent, with EMI and Warner splitting the remaining quarter roughly 50:50.

Sony's Japanese music business, which was not part of the deal - essentially Sony is splitting off the business built out of its acquisition of CBS - sits among the indies.

Sony and Bertlesmann will each own half of the new company, which will commence operations on Monday, sources close to SME told us.

Now the battle begins between erstwhile BMG and Sony staffers, as the combined operation seeks to cut overheads and eliminate duplication among its workforce. ®

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