Universal Music Group, which owns and operates the MCA Nashville, Mercury Nashville and Lost Highway imprints, has signed an agreement to purchase the parent company of the Capitol Nashville label.
UMG’s acquisition of British-based EMI Group Ltd. is part of a $4.1 billion deal that also involves EMI’s sale of its music publishing division to Sony Corporation of America, whose properties include the Nashville-based Sony ATV Music Publishing. Pending final approval, UMG will buy EMI’s recorded music division for $1.9 billion, and Sony will pay $2.2 billion for EMI’s publishing assets.
EMI’s future had been in question since February, when the company’s former owner — Terra Firma, a private equity firm — nearly defaulted on its debt and Citigroup gained control of its operations.
The net effect is that UMG’s acquisition of EMI will leave just three major labels in the music business — UMG, Sony Music and Warner Music Group.
The Capitol Nashville and EMI Music Nashville artist roster includes Lady Antebellum, Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Little Big Town and Darius Rucker. UMG’s artist list includes George Strait, Shania Twain, Sugarland, Vince Gill, Billy Currington, Easton Corbin, Jamey Johnson, Lee Ann Womack and American Idol winner Scotty McCreery and runner-up Lauren Alaina.
EMI’s Nashville operations also include the EMI Christian Music Group.
EMI’s non-country roster includes Katy Perry and Coldplay and catalog titles by the Beatles, the Beach Boys, Pink Floyd and Frank Sinatra, among others.