France's Vivendi, the parent company of Universal, said on Friday that it had agreed to purchase EMI's recorded music division, which is home to artists including Katy Perry, The Beatles and Coldplay.
It has been reported that Citigroup is also nearing a deal to sell EMI's music-publishing assets to a consortium led by Sony, with the unit expected to fetch around $2bn.
A split sale to Vivendi and Sony will bring to a close the struggle over the future of the 114-year-old record company, whose artists include The Beatles, Coldplay and Katy Perry. Citigroup seized EMI in February after investor Guy Hands and his private equity firm Terra Firma Capital Partners failed to meet loan covenants.
Stephen Volk, chairman of EMI and vice-chairman of Citigroup, said: "We believe that this transaction accomplishes Citi's objective of maximizing the value of EMI, giving EMI Music a partner in Universal Music that appreciates EMI`s rich cultural legacy, its incredible stable of musical talent, and its employees who work so hard to deliver successful outcomes for the artists they represent."
Jean-Bernard Lévy, chied executive of Vivendi, said: "We plan to acquire EMI`s recorded music division on attractive terms, adhering to our principle of total financial discipline. We are confident that we will be able to create additional value for our shareholders thanks to our knowledge of the industry and our proven track record of successful integration."