Monday, 11 June 2012
The European Commission's have agreed to provide UMG with a statement of key objections to Universal's bid to buy the EMI record company. The key concerns have been identified via the Commission's in depth investigation into the acquisition proposals. Although the statement of objections is a routine part of the EC's merger investigation process, it confirms that European regulators want some key issues to be addressed before the deal can be considered for approval. EU Competition Enforcer Joaquín Almunia said on Friday: "A company with a large and popular catalogue can have significant market power over digital platforms, which would have a keen interest to strike a deal with it. Ultimately, we will need to make sure that the company that would emerge from the deal would not be in a position to shape the future landscape in the digital music market to the detriment of users and artists". Welcoming the concerns expressed so far by the Commission, Helen Smith of IMPALA, the pan-European trade body for the indie label sector and one of the most vocal opponents to the deal, said"We welcome this news and expect to see a strong statement of objections confirming the Commission's earlier findings that Universal is a danger in the physical and digital market because it cannot be adequately constrained by competitors, customers or piracy". The Commission hopes to make a ruling on the Universal/EMI deal by the 6th Sep. The Federal Trade Commission in the US is concurrently reviewing the merger, while the transaction is also due to be debated in US Congress by the Senate Judiciary Committee's antitrust subcommittee on the 21st June.