Universal Hots Up Music Merger Race

Article excerpt

Byline: BILL CONDIE

THE major shake-up of the global music industry continues as Universal Music Group, the world's largest record label, said it would buy DreamWorks Records for an estimated $100 million ([pounds sterling]60 million).

At the same time, EMI shareholders have requested further details of talks the company is having with Warner Music in a deal that could be worth more than 10 times that.

The industry is facing a wave of consolidation in the face of falling CD sales, which it blames on illegal file-sharing on the internet.

As part of that process, Sony Music last week proposed a merger with Bertelsmann's BMG.

While the terms of the Dream-Works deal have not been made public, it is believed the company would be merged with Universal's Interscope-Geffen-A&M arm, whose stars include U2.

It represents a failure of Dream-Works founders Steven Spielberg, Disney executive Jeffrey Katzenberg and music mogul David Geffen to realise their vision of a groundbreaking cross-media entertainment company combining film, television and music. …