BMG has today acquired the Mute catalogue from Universal for an undisclosed fee - the first completed divestment from the EMI Music buyout.
Universal acquired EMI Music for £1.2bn in September, but has been told by EC regulators that it must now sell assets including Sanctuary, EMI Classics and Parlophone minus the Beatles.
The Mute news comes on the same day that BMG confirms it has acquired publishing rights to Virgin and Famous Songs - a divestment from Sony/ATV's acquisition of EMI Music Publishing.
Mute Records was bought by EMI for £23m in 2002, but in 2010 the major agreed to licence back assets to its founder, Daniel Miller, so that he could once again run the company as an independent.
However, EMI retained the rights to the Mute catalogue, which have now been snapped up by BMG - who are also interesting in buying other divestments from the UMG/EMI deal.
A UMG spokesperson told Music Week tonight: “Per our agreement with the European Commission, we have begun the sale process of divested assets with the acquisition of the Mute Catalogue by BMG Rights Management. We know that BMG will provide a good home for Mute’s artists.
"Moving forward, we are confident that with our sales strategy and the number of parties that have expressed interest in the remaining assets, we will be able to create exactly the level of value that we would expect from the quality of these divestments."
Mute was founded by Daniel Miller in 1978. Its catalogues include recordings from Depeche Mode, Erasure, Moby, Goldfrapp and Nick Cave.