Warner Music and EMI pull out of venture

Warner Brothers Music Group Inc. and EMI Group PLC have pulled out of their US$20 billion joint venture, the European Commission said Thursday.

“They have withdrawn the deal,” Commission spokesman Michael Tscherny said.

Meanwhile, European Union competition regulators will still meet Thursday to discuss the merger of America Online Inc. with Time Warner Inc., Tscherny said.

The hastily arranged meeting was scheduled at the beginning of this week to discuss rulings on both the EMI/Warner Music joint venture and the AOL/Time Warner merger.

“The committee will discuss the AOL deal. The last time it met (to examine the merger) they discussed a draft negative decision reached by the Commission. They are meeting again so you can presume they are discussing something different,” Tscherny said.

The so-called advisory committee consists of national competition regulators as well as members of the Commission’s merger task force.