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Universal Won't Seek Oral Hearing with EU Over EMI Case - Sources

By Vanessa Mock BRUSSELS--Universal Music Group won't seek an oral hearing with the European Union regulators over its proposed acquisition of the recording arm of EMI, people close to the matter said Thursday. The music giant is expected to submit its response to a raft of concerns from the European Commission Thursday and continue its dialogue with the case team through the "unambiguous written format," a person familiar with the situation said. "Given the complexities of the case, it was felt it was not sensible to go for an oral hearing," the person said. People who have followed the proposed acquisition had expected Universal, which is owned by Vivendi SA (VIV.FR), to seek the closed-door hearing to challenge concerns set out by the commission in a document nearly 200 pages long. Regulators have expressed serious misgivings over the market power the new entity would wield, both in the area of physical and digital music sales, in a formal written complaint. "UMG is submitting a full and detailed written response to the European Commission and will continue to engage constructively with the Commission to satisfy any remaining concerns," the company said. The company has until July 18 to put forward concessions, although that deadline could be extended to Aug. 1. Write to Vanessa Mock at [email protected]

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