Brussels, 2nd August 2016
IMPALA slams EU decision to clear Sony’s buyout of Sony/ATV
Today the European Commission has decided to clear Sony’s buyout of the late Michael Jackson estate's shares in Sony/ATV.
This decision follows a preliminary investigation during which the Commission examined the views of customers and competitors.
IMPALA and others raised concerns that the transaction would reinforce the market power of the world’s biggest music publisher, creating serious competition problems, including for online platforms and consumers.
Despite this, the EU has found that the transaction wouldn’t change the current situation materially. This often happens in cases involving a change of ownership from joint to sole control, which typically come under less scrutiny than other transactions.
Market participants had argued that this buyout is not a simple joint to sole control transaction. IMPALA described the buyout as “transformative” and urged the Commission to open a detailed Phase 2 investigation and/or impose tough remedies.
Helen Smith, Executive Chair of IMPALA, commented, “This decision is clearly wrong. It goes against the EU's previous analysis of concentration in music, as well as the concerns raised during this market investigation. We will need to read the decision in full when published to understand properly why the Commission has allowed this transaction to go ahead – there is a fundamental flaw somewhere.”
IMPALA was established in April 2000 to represent independent music companies. 99% of Europe’s music companies are SMEs. Known as the “independents”, they are world leaders in terms of innovation and discovering new music and artists - they produce more than 80% of all new releases and account for 80% of the sector's jobs (for more information, see the features of independents). IMPALA's mission is to grow the independent music sector, return more value to artists, promote cultural diversity and entrepreneurship, improve political access and modernise perceptions of the music sector.
To celebrate IMPALA’s 15th anniversary, various initiatives are taking place across Europe under the “IMPALA 15” banner, including special editions of the IMPALA awards and events at industry gatherings such as Amsterdam Dance Event, Eurosonic Noorderslag, Tallinn Music Week, Westway Lab, Primavera, Midem, Reeperbahn etc. See the organisation's key achievements in IMPALA's first 15 years in milestones.