Sony’s planned acquisition of EMI Music Publishing is set for closer scrutiny. The European Commission is now actively considering the Sony Corp deal, following notification of the acquisition.
The EU competition authorities have until Octber 26 to make an initial assessment.
European indies trade body IMPALA is urging European regulators to fully investigate the deal. It argues a precedent was set by the European Commission in 2012, when it ruled that divestments were required for Sony to become a minority shareholder.
Helen Smith IMPALA’s executive chair, said: “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.”
If the deal went ahead, Sony’s catalogue would nearly double, from 2.16 million to 4.21m compositions, as well as a large roster of writers with rights in many more songs.
IMPALA submitted its response to the European Commission last month, with particular concerns about the digital market.
Smith added: “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. The European Commission will be concerned about competition and higher consumer prices, as well as Sony’s recent moves to grab market share in the digital distribution market.
"The only solution is to block the deal now. This is necessary to avoid long term harm for consumers as well as other players in the music sector, from writers to streaming services, independent publishers, collecting societies and record companies. It also goes against key European objectives in terms of cultural diversity and SMEs and cuts across the EU's digital single market strategy."
The Commission has 25 days to decide whether to grant approval or to start an in-depth investigation.
Smith added: “Sony's expansion strategy will now be properly examined. The EC is likely to look not just at this latest deal, but the series of transactions together, just like a new merger."