EU Clears KKR/Bertelsman Joint Venture

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – German media group Bertelsmann gained European Union regulatory approval on Wednesday for a joint music rights venture with private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. Bertelsmann, which will own 49 percent of the joint venture, will contribute its BMG Rights Management music rights unit, whose works include those of Kylie Minogue and Roy Orbison.

KKR will invest 50 million euros ($72.5 million) to finance near-term growth, with a further 200 million euros over the coming years for acquisitions. “The (European) Commission found that the proposed concentration would not give rise to any competition concerns, given the very small market share of the joint venture in music publishing and recorded music,” the EU executive said in a statement.

Pension funds and private equity funds are increasingly attracted to catalogues of published songs due to their steady, recurring cash flows amid falling CD sales and as piracy hits profits in the music industry. (Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Dale Hudson)