Fresh from approving Apple’s acquisition of Shazam, the European Commission is now turning its attention to another music-industry merger: Sony’s proposal to take full control of EMI Music Publishing, which was announced earlier this year.
Yesterday, Sony ‘notified’ the EC of the deal, which kicks off a month-long period for the Commission to make an initial assessment over whether there are any competition issues around the proposed deal. If it concludes that there are, a second phase of investigation will begin.
Independent body Impala said yesterday that it is sure the second phase will be required, after the Commission raised concerns back in 2012 about Sony becoming a minority shareholder in EMI Music Publishing. “This transaction would disrupt competition and harm consumers in an already overly concentrated music market. Given recent precedents set by the European Commission, we believe Sony’s take over will face stiff opposition,” said Impala’s executive chair Helen Smith, noting that the combined Sony/EMI publishing catalogue would be more than 4.2m compositions. “Sony’s power will be a particular concern in European countries where the EU already concluded in 2012 that Sony would control too much repertoire,” said Smith. “The only solution is to block the deal now.” By 26 October, we’ll have the EC’s initial decision.