Brussels, 8th June
In a speech this morning about anti-trust enforcement, the EC Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia confirmed that it would be moving to the "next stage" in its investigation in the Universal/EMI merger.
This follows the launch of a detailed investigation in March when the EC confirmed its initial findings demonstrated that Universal/EMI's market power would be too big for rivals, customers or piracy to constrain. The Commissioner said then that he would "make sure consumers continue to have access to a wide variety of music in different physical and digital formats at competitive conditions".
Talking today about different cases such as Google as well as his wider role in developing the digital market, the Commissioner said both the Sony/EMI merger and the Uni/EMI merger are important because "a company with a large and popular catalogue can have significant market power over digital platforms" also noting that "competition authorities have the responsibility to allow all participants to play their part."
Helen Smith "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."
To see Bloomberg write-up click here
To see the Commissioner's whole speech click here
To see the EC press release on initial findings, click here
IMPALA was established in April 2000 to represent European independent music companies. One of IMPALA's missions is to keep the music market as open and competitive as possible. IMPALA has an impressive record on competition cases in the music sector. The first EMI/Warner merger was withdrawn in 2001 following objections from the EU after IMPALA intervened, in its first year of existence. It also won a landmark judgment in 2006 in the Sony/BMG case, and when Sony acquired 30% of EMI publishing in 2012, it was at the cost of significant divestments. The biggest set of remedies proportionately ever in a merger case was secured later that year, when UMG was forced to sell two thirds of EMI records and had to accept ten years of scrutiny over the terms of its digital deals. When WMG bought Parlophone in 2013, IMPALA secured a hefty divestments package for its members. On top of mergers, IMPALA has also been involved in other anti-trust cases involving the music sector, such as the abuse complaint against YouTube in 2014 and the call for regulating unfair business practices by large online players. IMPALA has also submitted observations on Apple’s bid to acquire Shazam. See the organisation's other key achievements in IMPALA's milestones.