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Impala warns of regulatory fight ahead for Sony / EMI deal


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When we reported yesterday on Sony’s plans to up its stake in EMI Music Publishing, we noted that the deal would require regulatory approval before it could go through. Now independent body Impala has warned that this approval may be tough for Sony to secure.

“The European Commission will want to avoid reinforcing the Sony/Universal duopoly, the two horse race which started in 2012 with the sale of EMI,” said its executive chair Helen Smith yesterday. “This is a step too far and I would expect to see an in-depth investigation in the EU and other key jurisdictions.”

Impala notes that it previously raised concerns in 2012 when the EMI publishing business was bought by a consortium which included Sony/ATV, and in 2016 when Sony Corp took sole control of Sony/ATV.

“Today, Sony is already by far the world’s largest music publisher and an indispensable trading partner controlling over 2.3 million copyrights,” said Smith.

“If this sale was to happen, its market power would be reinforced with serious competition issues, including excessive bargaining power when negotiating with collecting societies and the authors they represent, as well as other actors in the value chains such as labels and online services.”

Stuart Dredge

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